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Andy Murray stumbles in defeat but proud after ‘long road’ to ATP Finals

ndy Murray suffered a straight-set loss in the Sydney Tennis Classic final on Saturday, ending his Australian Open preparations with a loss to Aslan Karatsev.

The Russian picked up a 6-3, 6-3 win to continue Murray’s wait for a first ATP title in over two years.

The Scot, playing in his first final since the European Open in Antwerp in October 2019, started tentatively and was beaten in the opener of the match as Karatsev quickly took the lead after some solid holds.

Murray, a three-time major winner, struggled to serve throughout the first set, landing just 48% of his first serves and committing four double faults.

The second set started much like the first when Karatsev, 28, broke early to take the lead, constantly hurting Murray with a barrage of powerful winners from the back of the court.

Murray showed glimpses of his old self in game five which lasted almost 13 minutes as the Briton fought valiantly to earn a break but Karatsev weathered the storm and held on, eventually winning the game in one hour 32 minutes to claim his third career. Title.

After the game he highlighted the ‘long road’ he faced to return to such events after battling a hip injury – his voice cracking as he thanked his family back home .

Murray said: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Aslan. I know he also arrived late in Australia while recovering from Covid-19, so [it’s] even more impressive to come back right away and play at this level. Good job and all the best for the Australian Open.

“I would like to thank my team for all their help this week. First time back in the final in three years, it’s been a long road to get back here but I couldn’t have done it without your help, so thank you.

AFP via Getty Images

“I would also like to thank my family back home, I don’t know if you were watching but I miss you all.”

The No. 21 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili awaits the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Additional Reuters reporting.

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