|Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August-10 September|
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Andy Murray’s hopes of achieving a long-awaited deep run at a Grand Slam were ended by Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the US Open second round.
Former world number one Murray, 36, lost 6-3 6-4 6-1 against the 19th seed on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Murray, who is ranked 37th in the world, has not reached the last 16 of a major since resuming his career after hip surgery in 2019.
The Scot also lost in the Wimbledon second round last month.
Putting together a run at a major remains Murray’s prime target in the twilight of his career.
Going into the four Grand Slam events with a seeding would, on paper, make that a stronger possibility and falling narrowly short of the top 32 going into the US Open did not help his chances in New York.
Those ambitions were hindered by the Scot pulling out of tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati this month because of an abdominal injury.
Having recovered from the issue, Murray played well in his opening-round win over France’s Corentin Moutet but his level dropped considerably against the wily Dimitrov.
A lot of credit must go to former world number four Dimitrov – coached by Dani Vallverdu, who used to work with Murray – for executing a clear gameplan which set out to frustrate the Briton.
Dimitrov’s backhand slice regularly took the pace out of the rallies, forcing Murray to trade from the back of the court and making the contest physical with some long duels.
It became a tough watch for those supporting Murray, who remains a popular figure at the place where he won the first of his three major titles.
After falling a double break behind in the third set, Murray gave a gesture towards his team indicating he was finished and his troubles were encapsulated in a double fault on a second match point for Dimitrov.
The 32-year-old, who reached the US Open semi-finals in 2019, will play German 12th seed Alexander Zverev in the last 32.