Abu Dhabi: Andy Murray’s first match since undergoing surgery in the autumn ended in a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
World No. 4 Murray has been out of action since an operation in September to correct a long-standing back injury and was some way from his best as he went down 5-7, 3-6 in the first round of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Murray matched Tsonga for much of the first set before the latter converted his first break-point chance with a precise lob to take the opener.
Murray came out firing in the next to immediately force a break of the Tsonga serve, but the Briton was unable to maintain his advantage and two breaks for Tsonga on successive Murray service games gave the Frenchman a 72-minute victory.
The opening match of the invitational tournament ended with victory for world No. 3 David Ferrer, who defeated Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka 7-5, 6-1. Ferrer now progresses to an all-Spanish semi-final against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, while Tsonga will meet Novak Djokovic, the world No 2, in the last four.
Murray will get more match practice under his belt when he meets Wawrinka in a fifth-place play-off.