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Andy Murray’s hopes of winning a first tournament on British soil since 2016 ended with defeat in the Surbiton Trophy semi-final.
Murray had not won at home since triumphing at the ATP Finals six years ago and the wait will go on after losing 5-7 7-6 (5) 6-3 to American Denis Kudla.
Still, it was a good week of practice on the grass for Murray, who will now head to Germany to play in the Stuttgart Open next week before returning to London to play at Queen’s ahead of another SW19 campaign.
The Scot, who skipped the French Open in order to get in shape for the short grass season, made a good start against the big-serving American and took the first set.
He had led 4-1 but was pegged back only to break at the crucial moment to take it 7-5.
The second set remained on serve and was decided by a tie-break which went the way of Kudla, who is ranked 81 in the world.
The warning signs were there for Murray when he had to save five break points in the second game of the deciding set, but he could not hold off Kudla for long and the American broke at 3-2 and went on to see the match out without any sign of a Murray response.
Despite his defeat, the Brit was pleased to get some matches on grass under his belt this week.
“It’s tough to read too much into how I played. I competed pretty well for the first couple of sets, third set not as well as I would have liked,” he said.
“It was brutal conditions for both of us today, there was not loads of amazing tennis. We were using different skills out there and trying to find ways to put the ball in difficult positions for the opponent. Denis did a better job of that today.
“I played some good matches this week. Today I’m not concerned about how I played. You can’t expect to play your best tennis when it’s like that.
“Overall it was good for me to get four matches, I would’ve liked to have won the tournament, but that wasn’t to be.”