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Andy Murray suffers second-round exit at Dubai Tennis Championships

Andy Murray suffers second-round exit at Dubai Tennis Championships
© Reuters
Andy Murray's run at the Dubai Tennis Championships comes to an end in the second round as French fifth seed Ugo Humbert defeats the Briton 6-2 6-4.

Andy Murray's wait for a first ATP Tour quarter-final of the year continued as the former British and world number one lost to Ugo Humbert in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 36-year-old won a mere seven returning points throughout the one-hour and 29-minute battle, where a dominant Humbert stormed to a 6-2 6-4 victory to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time.

"It was a great match for me, it's never easy to play against him but it was a nice performance for me," the French fifth seed said during his on-court interview.

Questioned on his consistency and ranking, having moved into the top 20 players of the world, the Frenchman added: "That's why my ranking improves a lot!

"It's always nice to win a title, it's good to play here on this beautiful court. It gives me a lot of confidence, I try to play with that confidence on the court. I knew exactly what I had to do."

On the back of reaching the last 16 of the Qatar Open, Murray rolled back the years with a trademark fightback against Denis Shapovalov in round one of the Dubai Tennis Championships to set up a showdown with Humbert, who had also come from a set down to beat compatriot Gael Monfils in round one.

The Frenchman was beaten in his first two matches against Murray, who prevailed in the semi-finals of the 2019 European Open - where he won his most recent top-level title - and the first round of the 2021 Moselle Open.

Murray was left to bemoan early mistakes against Humbert on Wednesday, though, losing serve in the third game of the match before Humbert quickly secured a double break for a 5-1 advantage.

The world number 18 incredibly won his first 15 service points before Murray finally ended his streak of love holds, although the three-time major winner had only delayed the inevitable as Humbert converted his second set point.

Murray had lost the first set in his previous two ATP Tour battles with Humbert only to win on both occasions, but more unforced errors hindered his chances of making lightning strike for a third time, as Humbert again broke for a 2-1 lead in the second.

The Frenchman continued to prove unflappable behind his own serve, though, and on his first match point, the 25-year-old clinched a statement win with a ferocious cross-court forehand, which Murray could only return long on his backhand side.

As well as denying Murray a single break point all afternoon, Humbert won a staggering 86% of points behind his second serve, and his reward will be a quarter-final with Polish third seed Hubert Hurkacz or Australia's Christopher O'Connell.

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Andy Murray in action at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February 2024
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