Andy Murray exited the Brisbane International in the second round, falling to a 7-5, 6-2 defeat by fourth seed Daniil Medvedev.
The Scot, currently ranked 236 in the world as he looks to battle back from hip surgery, competed well with Medvedev in the first set before succumbing to excellent tennis from the 22-year-old Russian.
Murray’s travails on Pat Rafter Arena were more down to Medvedev’s prowess than any fitness issues in a match lasting one hour and 21 minutes. The World No.16 won three titles in 2018 and, in his first match of the 2019 campaign, he hit 16 aces and pulverised Murray at times with his power.
Murray clearly showed attempts to try and shorten the points, serve-volleying at times and trying to be aggressive. However, unlike against James Duckworth in the first round, he was up against a player brimming with confidence and Murray, only playing his second competitive match since cutting his 2018 season short in October, could not live with Russian.
The good news for Murray fans is that his movement did not seem overly restricted and there were few signs of pain, but it was clear that his level is still far, far away from what it was when he was at the top of the men’s game.
Medvedev is one of a clutch of youngsters looking to dethrone the older guard in men’s tennis and looked focused and driven in the opening exchanges. He broke Murray’s serve in the third game to move ahead, only for the Scot to dig in and break back in the eighth game and level for 4-4.
The decisive game of the first set was at 5-5, when Medvedev broke with a stunning forehand down the line before closing it out on serve.
Murray – who won Brisbane in 2012 and 2013 – could not live with the Russian’s searing groundstrokes and Medvedev quickly opened up a 4-0 lead in the second set, eventually winning it 6-2. He will now face Canadian Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.
Murray’s next scheduled tournament is the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, January 14. The 31-year-old could take a wildcard for one of the two ATP 250 Series events next week in Sydney or Auckland, but it is more likely that he will spend time on the practice court ahead of the first Slam of the year.