Beijing, Sep 28 (IANS) Andy Murray fell at the first hurdle of the China Open as the British veteran lost to Australia’s Alex de Minaur 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (6) here on Thursday. The 36-year-old Briton has reached at least the quarterfinal stage in all of his four previous outings and is unseeded this time.
De Minaur, ranked 12th in the ATP tour, saved two match points in the eighth game of the third set en route to winning the 171-minute duel, Xinhua reports.
Trailing 0-40 in his first service game, Murray saved two break points but failed at the third one, which eventually cost him the first set.
The former world No. 1 regrouped in the following set, breaking De Minaur’s serve twice while the latter broke once.
Murray broke first in the third set to make it 3-1, but De Minaur displayed admirable mettle, breaking back in the ninth game before triumphing in the breathtaking tie-break.
De Minaur has won all the previous four encounters against the 40th-ranked Murray.
In earlier matches of the day, Ugo Humbert of France beat Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 3-6, 6-0. Lloyd Harris of South Africa lost to Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-3. Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi disposed of Jeffrey John Wolf of the United States 6-2, 6-2, and Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat local wildcard player Zhou Yi 6-2, 6-2.