Andy Murray’s latest comeback from a persistent hip issue ended prematurely on Wednesday when he was beaten 7-5 6-2 by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the Brisbane International.
Murray cut short his season last September after suffering pain in his hip following surgery earlier in the year that ruled him out of three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
The 31-year-old had defeated local hope James Duckworth in his season opener on Tuesday but was comprehensively beaten by fourth seed Medvedev who fired 16 aces and lost only seven of his first-service points in the contest.
“I think he served extremely well, I didn’t really get many chances on his service games,” Murray, who won the tournament in both of his previous appearances in 2012 and 2013, said.
“And then on my own service games I made too many errors in the rallies, especially early on I was trying to play a little bit more offensive. In the second set, I made too many mistakes.
“I think when you play better players… they will expose any errors that you make in your game or any shots that you’re not hitting particularly well. And he did that tonight.”
Medvedev next faces Canada’s Milos Raonic who eased past Serbian qualifier Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3 7-6(2).
The tournament lost another big name when Rafa Nadal pulled out due to a thigh strain, casting doubt on his participation in this month’s Australian Open.
Jeremy Chardy rallied to beat holder Nick Kyrgios 6-7(5) 6-2 6-3 to leave Alex De Minaur as the sole Australian man remaining in the draw after the 19-year-old beat Jordan Thompson 6-4 6-2.
Grigor Dimitrov downed local favourite John Millman 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-final with Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
In the women’s competition, unseeded Anett Kontaveit upset double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-5 7-6(1) before paying tribute to fellow Estonian Kaia Kanepi who had claimed the Brisbane title in 2012.
“We’re a really small country. Kaia has led the way for me. She won this tournament a few years ago – she’s shown you can make it in tennis,” Kontaveit, ranked 20 in the world, said.
Former champion Karolina Pliskova outclassed Marie Bouzkova 7-5 6-2 to set up a clash with Ajla Tomljanovic who ended the run of Briton Johanna Konta winning 6-2 7-6(2).