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Murray stunned by Gabashvili in US Open tuneup

Andy Murray

Washington:  British top seed Andy Murray suffered a stunning defeat in his first hardcourt warm-up match for the US Open, losing Wednesday to Teymuraz Gabashvili at the ATP and WTA Washington Open.

The 53rd-ranked Russian outlasted third-ranked Murray 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) over two hours and 42 minutes to reach the third round at the ATP and WTA Washington Open.

Murray, the first Washington top seed to lose his first match since Ivan Lendl in 1993, served for the match in the third set and was two points from victory before Gabashvili broke to 5-5 and the Russian later took the final four tie-breaker 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 prior top-10 foes, hit 30 winners and only made 15 unforced errors while winning 86 percent of first-serve points in making Murray the highest-ranked victim of his career.

“Anytime you beat Andy Murray 7-6 in the third it’s something special — 100 percent it’s my best victory,” Gabashvili said.

It was a shocking defeat for the 28-year-old Scotsman, who sparked Britain’s Davis Cup team past France in July after a semi-final run at Wimbledon.

Murray, the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon champion, has much to work on before the Flushing Meadows fortnight begins August 31.

“Temu served well but I usually back myself to return better than I did,” Murray said. “That cost me a lot tonight. Pretty frustrating. I was happy with how I moved and did certain things on the court. There are some things I felt I could improve.”

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