Murray slumps to defeat in Doha

  • Last Updated: January 1 2014, 21:57 GMT

Andy Murray blew a 6-3 3-0 lead as he bowed out of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at the hands of Florian Mayer.

Andy Murray: Bowed out in the secoind round in Doha
Andy Murray: Bowed out in the secoind round in Doha

The Wimbledon champion looked to be easing through to the last eight but German Mayer won 11 of the last 14 games to triumph 3-6 6-4 6-2.

Murray is not scheduled to play another tournament before the Australian Open and the early exit in Doha leaves him short of competitive matches ahead of the year's first grand slam event.

Mayer, ranked 40th in the world, is a tricky customer with an unorthodox game but Murray had won all their previous three meetings.

He won his first ATP match since back surgery on Tuesday but it was little more than a gentle hit for the 26-year-old as he dispatched outclassed local wild card Mousa Zayed 6-0 6-0.

Mayer was a much bigger test but for a long time it looked like one Murray would negotiate without too many problems.

Two break points went begging in the third game but the Scot powered a return two games later to break for 3-2.

He had to save a break point of his own in the next game before another return winner gave him the set.

Murray has made a habit of starting the season strongly, winning the title in Doha in 2008 and 2009 and repeating the feat in Brisbane the last two years.

He returned to Qatar this year because it allowed him to get extra matches in at last week's exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.

There was no let-up from Murray as he raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Mayer went on the offensive and withstood a barrage of pressure to level.

He then made it four games in a row to move ahead in the set, taking advantage of Murray's obvious frustration.

The British number one stopped the rot to force his opponent to serve for the set, but Mayer was on a roll and clinched it to love.

And the 30-year-old German continued to keep Murray on the back foot with another break at the start of the decider, time and again forcing his opponent out of court with angled backhands.

Murray could make no inroads on the Mayer serve, and he began to look very weary as the German broke again to lead 5-2 before polishing off a notable victory.

Meanwhile, Murray's run in the doubles also came to an end after the Scot and Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic were beaten 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 by top seeds Alexander Peya of Austria and Brazilian Bruno Soares in the quarter-finals.

World number one Rafael Nadal was given a tough time by Tobias Kamke but withstood the challenge to win 6-3 6-7 (3/7) 6-3.

In the quarter-finals, Nadal meets seventh seed Ernests Gulbis, who saw off Poland's Lukasz Kubot 6-2 4-6 6-3.

The top seed is expecting a tough afternoon, saying of Gulbis on "He's a player you don't want to meet because he hits every ball very hard with a very strong serve. Then he hits every ball very, very, very fast from the baseline."

It was a good day for the Germans, with Daniel Brands joining Mayer in toppling one of the ATP Tour's big guns.

Brands ousted second seed David Ferrer 6-4 7-5 while qualifier Dustin Brown saved match points in the second set on his way to a 3-6 7-6 (15/13) 6-4 win over Ivo Karlovic.

Qualifier Peter Gojowczyk won an all-German battle against sixth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in two tie-breaks.

Nadal and Gulbis are the only seeds left after defending champion Richard Gasquet fell to countryman Gael Monfils 6-2 7-5.

Romanian Victor Hanescu was the other player to cause a shock, coming from a set down to defeat eighth seed Fernando Verdasco 4-6 7-6 (7/0) 6-2.

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