Hiccup for Murray before US Open

A beleaguered Andy Murray (top) after losing a point to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Briton is the first top seed at the Washington Open to lose his opening match since 1993.
A beleaguered Andy Murray (above) after losing a point to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Briton is the first top seed at the Washington Open to lose his opening match since 1993.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
A beleaguered Andy Murray (top) after losing a point to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Briton is the first top seed at the Washington Open to lose his opening match since 1993.
A beleaguered Andy Murray after losing a point to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Briton is the first top seed at the Washington Open to lose his opening match since 1993.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

WASHINGTON • Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon champion, has much to work on before the Flushing Meadows fortnight, which begins on Aug 31, after losing on Wednesday to Teymuraz Gabashvili at tennis' ATP and WTA Washington Open.

The world No. 3 suffered a stunning defeat in his first hard-court warm-up match for the US Open.

The 53rd-ranked Russian outlasted third-ranked Murray 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) after two hours and 42 minutes to reach the third round.

Murray, the first top seed at the Washington Open to lose his first match since Ivan Lendl in 1993, served for the match in the third set and was two points from victory. But Gabashvili broke to 5-5 and the Russian later took the final four tie- break points to secure the triumph.

"It was a tough match," Murray said. "Obviously disappointing not to close out the third set when I had a chance. Struggled with my rhythm early. There were some good rallies.

"He served well in the big moments, especially in the third set."

Gabashvili, who was 3-22 against top-10 foes, hit 30 winners and made only 15 unforced errors.

He won 86 per cent of first-serve points in making Murray the highest-ranked victim of his career.

"Any time you beat Andy Murray 7-6 in the third, it's something special - 100 per cent it's my best victory," Gabashvili said.

It was a shocking defeat for the 28-year-old Scot who sparked Britain's Davis Cup team past France last month after a semi-final run at Wimbledon.

"Temu served well but I usually back myself to return better than I did," Murray said. "That cost me a lot tonight. Pretty frustrating."

Gabashvili, who will next face Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis, honed his skills the past three weeks in World Team Tennis.

It is a United States league with no-advantage scoring and shorter sets and he was named the Men's Most Valuable Player.

"My body is really tired but I learnt to play important points and I learnt to play aggressive and without fear," Gabashvili said. "I'm confident now. It really helped me."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2015, with the headline 'Hiccup for Murray before US Open'. Print Edition | Subscribe