Andy Murray starts 2023 season with defeat to Sebastian Korda in Adelaide

Andy Murray made an unhappy start to 2023 with a straight-sets defeat to Sebastian Korda at the Adelaide International.

Andy Murray lost his first match of the year in Adelaide.
Andy Murray lost his first match of the year in Adelaide.

Korda, who at 22 is 13 years Murray's junior, had won their only previous meeting at the 2022 Gijon Open and the 6ft 5in American, ranked 33 in the world and 16 places higher than the Scot, repeated that victory with a 7-6 (3) 6-3 success in one hour and 56 minutes.

The first set went with serve until Korda broke in the seventh game to lead 4-3. Three-time grand slam champion Murray broke back instantly, however, to set up a tie-break that Korda dominated. Korda's double break gave him a 4-1 lead and, although Murray saved one set point, the American closed out the first set in one hour and 16 minutes.

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The second set followed a similar pattern with serve held until Korda took a 4-2 lead. Murray had a break point in the next game, but he was unable to capitalise and Korda served out to secured a second-round date with Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, who knocked out fourth seed Andrey Rublev in three sets.

Murray is not due back in action until the Australian Open, which begins on January 16, although there are warm-up events in Auckland and also a second tournament in Adelaide next week which he could conceivably try and enter in order to get more time on the court.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic started his 2023 singles season with a straight sets win over Constant Lestienne at the Adelaide International.

Djokovic began his build-up for this month’s Australian Open, where he will be chasing a record 10th men’s singles title, with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Frenchman Lestienne.

“For the first match I can’t complain,” Djokovic said after beating the world number 65. “I played very well. I thought the first six games were very competitive and I have never faced him before. He is a counter-puncher, he doesn’t make too many mistakes. He has a tricky serve, hits his spots. But once I made that break at 3-2 in the first set I thought I stepped it up and played really good tennis for the rest of the match.”

The 35-year-old Serb, who is making his first tour-level appearance in Adelaide since 2007, plays France’s Quentin Halys next.

The other seeded player in Djokovic’s quarter of the draw is Denis Shapovalov. Seventh seed Shapovalov recovered to beat Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata 2-6 6-4 6-3. Jannik Sinner began his season with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund, while Karen Khachanov advanced by beating Pedro Cachin 6-2 6-4. Daniil Medvedev moved into the last 16 with a 7-6 (6) 2-1 win over Lorenzo Sonego, the Italian having to withdraw through injury in the second set. Britain’s Jack Draper is due to play Karen Khachanov in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Adelaide.

In Pune, where the Maharashtra Open is being played, eighth seed Aslan Karatsev cruised into the second round with a comfortable 6-1 6-3 win over Pablo Andujar. There were also victories for Tim van Rijthoven, Flavio Cobolli, Pedro Martinez and Max Marterer.