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Another early exit for Andy Murray as Andrey Rublev triumphs at Indian Wells

Andy Murray was unable to make his opportunities count as he suffered a second-round loss to Andrey Rublev at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

Looking for just his second victory over a top-five opponent since 2016 and buoyed by an impressive performance in the opening round against David Goffin, Murray matched Russian Rublev for most of the contest.

But he was unable to take four set points in the opener and succumbed to a 7-6 (3) 6-1 loss in the Californian desert.

Rublev said of Murray in an on-court interview: "He had a lot of chances in the first set and I was lucky to win. Had I lost it, it would have been really, really tough.

"After the first set I felt more confidence and I knew that it would be even tougher for Andy to keep up his consistency."

Rublev made unwanted headlines last week when he was defaulted from the ATP tournament in Dubai for aggressively yelling in the face of a line judge.

The Russian had denied using bad language, and had his ranking points and prize money restored on appeal, but he issued a public apology for his behaviour ahead of Friday's contest with Murray.

Both men often struggle to contain their emotions on court but here Rublev was on his best behaviour, bar the odd shout towards his box.

There were plenty of opportunities for frustration to surface in the first set, especially when Murray, whose first serve and backhand were particularly effective, moved to 0-40 at 5-4 ahead.

But Rublev saved all three set points and then a fourth that followed before powering his way through the tie-break, helped by 29 winners in 13 games, 18 alone off his monstrous forehand.

Murray then found himself in deep trouble when he was broken from 40-0 up in the fourth game of the second set, with two double faults hurting him badly, and from there Rublev ran away with the contest.

While it is another defeat for the Scot to digest, he will at least leave Indian Wells – probably for the final time – to head to Miami feeling more positive about his tennis, with some encouraging signs for future tournaments.

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