Humbert ousts Murray to seal Dubai quarter-final spot

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Andy Murray’s hopes of a Dubai fairytale on what is likely to be his last appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships were brought to a halt by in-form Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday.

The three-time Grand Slam champion, a winner of this tournament in 2017, cut a frustrated figure against the No. 5 seed, 11 years his junior.

The 36-year-old Scot won the opening game on serve but Humbert, who needed three sets to see off veteran wildcard Gael Monfils in his opening match, broke the Murray serve twice in succession and simply had too much for Murray as he took out the set 6-2.

The second set followed a similar path with Murray holding serve in the opening game, only for Humbert to break twice in a row and showed calmness to see out the set, wrap up victory and seal a quarter-final spot.

Earlier, No. 2 seed and last year’s beaten finalist Andrey Rublev became the first man to book a quarter-final spot, ending the dream of French qualifier Arthur Cazaux in the process.

Cazaux, making his debut in Dubai this week had produced some fine tennis to get through the qualifiers and see off Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in the last-32.

But Rublev took control of this last-16 match on Centre Court from the opening game, breaking his opponent’s serve and holding firm to take the first set 6-4.

The second set went with serve until Rublev, a winner in Hong Kong earlier this year, broke Cazaux in game seven and held his subsequent service games to seal a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Alexander Bublik booked his place in the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-2) victory over Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands.

The seventh seed, who survived a scare in his opening match of the week, coming back from a set down against qualifier Tomas Machac, was pushed hard again by Griekspoor, but dug deep to take victory.

Meanwhile, fourth seed Karen Khachanov suffered a 7-6 6-7 4-6 loss to Jiri Lehecka. 

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