(Reuters) - Andy Murray has decided to end his season, according to British media reports, after his revival at the Shenzhen Open was halted in straight sets by a familiar foe, Fernando Verdasco, in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Britain’s former world number one had made decent strides with two previous wins this week as he continued to make promising progress on his comeback from hip surgery in January, but he was well beaten 6-4 6-4 by the Spanish veteran Verdasco.
Murray had been due to play next week’s China Open in Beijing, which would have been his last event of his truncated six-tournament season.
The BBC, however, reported he was suffering a slight ankle problem and had decided to concentrate on ensuring he is in his best possible shape for the Australian Open in January.
Friday’s result was a repeat of the 34-year-old Verdasco’s straight sets victory over Murray in the second round of the U.S. Open in August. The two wins in a month came after Verdasco had previously suffered eight consecutive defeats to the Scot stretching back nine years.
Murray, down to 311 in the world rankings, had enjoyed the best win of his comeback by beating David Goffin on Thursday but fifth seed Verdasco was too solid and occasionally spectacular, cracking 11 aces and 38 winners in his one hour 40-minute win.
It set up Verdasco’s first hardcourt semi-final berth for nearly a year against Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka who, like the Spaniard, disposed of British opposition, beating Cameron Norrie 7-6(2) 6-2.
The other semi-final will feature rising Australian teenager Alex de Minaur, who defeated Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-6(7), and France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who battled from a set down past Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(6) 7-6(1) 6-4.
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar