Abu Dhabi: Serbian world number 9 Janko Tipsarevic made it a quick exit for World number three and Olympic Games and US Open champion Andy Murray with a 6-3, 6-4 win in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship opener here on Thursday.
Tipsarevic showed a little more consistency than the British ace who, despite providing some flashes of brilliance, went down in 84 minutes in the $250,000 (Dh918,218) winner-takes-all three-day tournament. Tipsarevic now takes on world number 11 Nicolas Almagro from Spain in Friday’s semi-final.
The Serb broke Murray in the fourth game and that was enough for him to take the opening set in 39 minutes.
The two traded some fierce baseline shots, but Murray made more errors and looked a bit rusty, much to the disappointment of a large number of supporters in the stands here at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Stadium at Zayed Sports City.
Murray was again broken in the opening game of the second set and, though the set was peppered with some long and exciting rallies, Tipsarevic sailed through to win.
“I am happy with my game. I know it is an exhibition game but to play a Grand Slam champion and an Olympic Games gold medal winner and win, I am just delighted,” the winner said afterwards.
“I played great tennis tonight. As Murray said earlier, there are no easy matches. I am looking forward to the semi-finals against Almagro.
“I hope to get two more victories and that would be great going into the Australian Open.”
Almagro, who makes his debut in Abu Dhabi on Friday as a late replacement for the ill Rafael Nadal, said, “For me it’s a pleasure to be here, it’s one of the most important exhibitions with all the very best players. I have come here to continue my preparation and I look forward to the beginning of the 2013 season.
“It’s tough to say what my goals are as it’s the end of 2012 and I want to enjoy the last days of my best season. It will be difficult to have the same success again but I want to fight, I want to try.”