Abu Dhabi: Serbian world No 9 Janko Tipsarevic made it a quick exit for World No 3 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 (Dh919,500) winner-takes-all three-day tournament. Tipsarevic now takes on world No 11 Nicolas Almagro from Spain in Friday’s second 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 players 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 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 victory.
“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.”
Murray was not too downbeat about his defeat, admitting it had taken him a while to adapt to the fast court conditions. “I hit the ball pretty well, just the execution of some of my shots wasn’t perfect, but that’s pretty normal when you have not played a match for a while,” he said.
“Tipsarevic is a very solid player — when he gets a chance, he likes to go for his shots. He is a little bit unorthodox at times in his shot selection, and that makes him very tough to play.”
The Scot won’t be leaving the UAE right away, as he is due to take on some local players on Saturday. He’s also hoping to meet up with another British sporting hero, boxer David Haye, who is in Dubai on holiday. “He [Haye] actually messaged me three minutes ago and said he’d like to come along here and see me,” Murray said.
In Thursday’s second match, David Ferrer cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych. Ferrer, who raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set, completed his impressive victory in one hour, 24 minutes. The Spaniard will now take on defending champion Novak Djokovic in Friday’s first semi-final in a repeat of last year’s final.
Janko Tipsarevic bt Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4
Tomas Berdych vs David Ferrer
10.30am — Gates open
1.30pm — Autograph signing by star players
3pm — 1st semi-final, Novak Djokovic vs Berdych/Ferrer
Followed by — 2nd semi-final, Tipsarevic vs Nicolas Almagro