x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Murray in shock exit

Janko Tipsarevic last night thanked two cloves of raw garlic for banishing the threat of Andy Murray, the world No 4.

Andy Murray contests a call in his second round match against Janko Tipsarevic yesterday.
Andy Murray contests a call in his second round match against Janko Tipsarevic yesterday.

DUBAI // Legend has it garlic banishes the threat of vampires. Janko Tipsarevic last night thanked two cloves of raw garlic for banishing the threat of Andy Murray, the world No 4. The popular Serbian, ranked 39th in the world, last night produced the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships' grandest shock so far by dispatching Australian Open finalist Murray 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4 in a hard-fought third-round match in front of a 5,000 capacity crowd at the Aviation Club.

Murray was competing in his first event since his heartbreak in Melbourne last month and looked rusty, but Tipsarevic revealed post-match that he himself had been struggling going into the game. "I came here with a fever and feeling completely sick, but day after day I'm feeling better," said Tipsarevic. "The night before the match I ate two big heads of white garlic because Novak Djokovic told me I'm going to feel better. And actually I did."

In a closely-contested first set, Tipsarevic outclassed Murray in the fifth game to break the Scotsman, but Murray broke back in the 10th with a fine forehand down the line. In the 11th, Murray showed lack of focus, double-faulting to gift his opponent deuce, but quickly followed it up with two powerful aces, one of which passed the net at 211kph, to close out the game. In the tie-break, however, Tipsarevic rallied to win 7-3 courtesy of a controversial challenge. Murray stood at the baseline fuming as the Serb headed for the sidelines.

The second set saw Murray take an early lead, breaking in the first game with a fantastic crowd-pleasing jumping overhead volley, and after holding service, forced a third set. With the crowd buoyed, Murray displayed an assortment of lobs, slices and smashes, while Tipsarevic's dogged determination to return anything on his side of the net made for a thrilling encounter. But this time, it was Murray who suffered the early break, again in the second. And after breaking back in the ninth to heighten the drama going into the crucial final game, Tipsarevic then won by breaking Murray's serve during a game that produced the best tennis of the tournament so far.

"This is one of my biggest wins," said Tipsarevic, who had lost to Murray three time from their previous five meetings. " "For me, Murray is a contestant to be No 1 at the end of the season. "He played unbelievable tennis at the Australian Open so was one of the favourites of the tournament here. "I have had a couple of top 10 wins, but this is definitely one of my biggest ever." In contrast, Murray, having smashed his racket and stormed off court, appeared mellow afterwards.

"I would have liked to have won," he said. "But I was trying some new things out and it was good learning experience for me. "If it was a Slam or something, my tactics and my game style would have been a bit different. "And I wasn't necessary coming in as well prepared as I have in previous tournaments." gmeenaghan@thenational.ae