Britain’s former world number one Andy Murray was knocked out of the ATP Hall of Fame Open, falling to Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-4 in a Friday quarter-final.
World number 42 Bublik fired 12 aces against five double faults and won 80% of his first serve points to eliminate the 35-year-old Scotsman in the grass-court event and line up a semi-final clash with Australian Jason Kubler.
“It’s great to be in the semi-finals again,” Bublik said. “I don’t have any tournaments the next two or three weeks so I’m engaged. I want to get as many matches as I can.”
Kubler, ranked 102nd in the world, beat fellow Australian James Duckworth 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) to reach his first ATP semi-final.
The victory ended Kubler’s four-match losing streak to Duckworth, a day after Kubler notched his first win over a top-10 player with an upset of top-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Americans John Isner and Maxime Cressy meet in Saturday’s other semi-final.
Former world number one Murray is a three-time Grand Slam champion, winning the 2012 US Open and 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon titles as well as Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016.
Murray, ranked 52nd, was chasing a 47th career ATP crown while Bublik, 25, won his first ATP title at Montpellier in February.
Injury-nagged Murray has not won a title since the 2019 European Open but was runner-up in January at Sydney and last month in Stuttgart.
Bublik improved to 2-3 against Murray and has split their four meetings this year.
Murray’s first double fault gave Bublik the match’s first break point and he took advantage with a backhand winner to seize a 6-5 lead, then held on a service winner to claim the first set after 57 minutes.
Murray double faulted to surrender a break to open the second set, but Murray broke back level at 1-1 on a successful challenge when a Bublik shot was ruled out.
After a foot fault call that irked Bublik, he broke again for a 4-3 lead and held twice to take the victory after one hour and 47 minutes.