No 1 Murray loses to ranked 50th Zverev at Australian Open

Andy Murray reacts after losing at Australian Open.

MELBOURNE, Jan 22: Andy Murray won’t be breaking his Australian Open title drought this year after a stunning fourth-round loss to 50th-ranked Mischa Zverev.

The top-ranked Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, was unsettled by the left-handed serve and volleyer in a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 upset loss Sunday on Rod Laver Arena.

Zverev attacked Murray, unsettling his natural baseline game, and won 65 of 118 points at the net.

The 29-year-old German made some stunning, lunging volleys on clutch points, but for him it was all a blur.

“Honestly, I don’t know, it was like I was in a little coma, I just served and volleyed my way through,” Zverev said. “Honestly there were a few points where I don’t know how I pulled it off.”

Murray joins six-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, beaten in the second round by wild-card entry Denis Istomin, on the sidelines for the second week at Melbourne Park.

It’s the first time since 2002 that neither the No 1 nor the No 2 seed has reached the Australian Open quarterfinals.

“Right now I’m down,” Murray said. “But I’ve had tough losses before and come back from them.”

Murray had not lost to a player ranked as low at a major in a decade since his loss to No 51 Juan Ignacio Chela at Melbourne Park in 2006. It was also the earliest exit by a top-seeded player at the Australian Open since Lleyton Hewitt’s third-round departure in 2003.

And this not even the Zverev brother tipped to go this far at the Australian Open. The 19-year-old Alexander Zverev, widely touted as a potential major winner, led by two sets to one before losing to 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the third round on Saturday.

And so the two most consistent players in the season’s first Grand Slam since 2010 won’t feature at all in the second week.

Earlier, seven-time major winner Venus Williams returned to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the ninth time with a 6-3, 7-5 fourth-round win Sunday over No 181-ranked Mona Barthel.

She will next play No 24-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat No 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3 and who had never gone past the third round in eight previous trips to Melbourne Park.AGENCIES