Andy Murray’s grass-court season came to a disappointing end after he suffered a straight-sets defeat to Alexander Bublik in the Hall of Fame Open quarter-finals.
The double Wimbledon champion had enjoyed a strong summer on the lawn before his second-round exit at the All England Club last month.
A Surbiton Trophy semi-final showing was followed up by a runner-up appearance at the Stuttgart Open in June and, after a frustrating short spell at Wimbledon, Murray extended his time on grass by playing this week’s ATP 250 in Newport.
Wins over Sam Querrey and Max Purcell raised hopes of the former world number one ending his long wait for a title on his favoured surface, but Bublik proved too strong in a 7-5 6-4 defeat.
It was the fourth meeting of the year between Murray and the Kazakhstan representative, with the Briton having won two and lost one of the previous three
The first set remained on serve until the 11th game when Bublik made the most of the first break point of the last-eight tie to take the initiative.
A lengthy rally was ended by a fine backhand winner from the world number 42 and saw Murray let out his frustration by throwing his racket into the net.
When the third seed served out for the first set in 58 minutes and broke his rival at the start of the second, the momentum had firmly swun..
Murray responded immediately and began his latest comeback quest, but a crucial sixth game of the second set proved decisive.
Sixth seed Murray was unable to break Bublik following a lengthy service game and then let slip on his own serve.
While Murray fought back from 0-30 down to force Bublik to serve out for the match and saved two match points, the Kazakhstan player made no mistake at the third time of asking to progress into the semi-finals of the Rhode Island tournament.
Three-time grand slam winner Murray will now turn his attention to the hard-court season, with an appearance already confirmed at the Citi Open later this month to begin his preparations for next month’s US Open.
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