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Andy Murray vs Milos Raonic Mubadala World Tennis Championships tennis live: Murray looks for last win of 2016

Hannah Wilks in News 30 Dec 2016
  • Andy Murray takes on Milos Raonic in Abu Dhabi after a surprise loss to Belgium's David Goffin
  • Murray vs Raonic Mubadala World Tennis Championships tennis is live from Abu Dhabi on Saturday at 1pm local/9am GMT
Andy Murray (NEZAR BALOUT/AFP/Getty Images)

After a shock defeat to David Goffin, Andy Murray wraps up his Mubadala World Tennis Championships appearance on Saturday as he takes on Milos Raonic for third place.  

Losing a match isn’t the ideal way to start a new tennis season, but at least Andy Murray still has another match in Abu Dhabi – and he can take comfort in the fact that, since the Mubadala World Tennis Championships are an exhibition, his defeat to David Goffin on Friday won’t end his winning streak (26 straight matches won since losing to Juan Martin del Potro during the Davis Cup semifinal in September). 

Mubadala tends to be taken a little more seriously than most players, however, because the timeframe to warm up before the Australian Open is so short – there are only two weeks of official ATP and WTA play before the first Grand Slam of the year, and most players with a realistic shot at challenging for the title in Melbourne don’t compete the week before. Every match counts when it comes to warming up for the Australian Open, in other words, especially for Murray who has changed his preparation routine this year – playing Mubadala in Abu Dhabi and then next week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha – in an attempt to finally claim the title after five runner-up finishes.

So Murray won’t exactly be hitting the panic button after defeat to Goffin, but it wasn’t precisely in the plan, either. Goffin’s biggest weakness on the court is his lack of outright weapons, but he looked to have beefed up his serve a little bit over the off-season in an attempt to remedy that deficiency and he also played with a lot more attack than is usual. Time will tell whether the Belgian will succeed in incorporating more aggression into his game on a consistent basis in 2017, but he made an extremely bright start in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Coupled with an errant forehand and a slight lack of precision on passing shots, it was enough for Goffin to snatch the first set in a tie break and then Murray took his foot off the gas after striking a clean return winner to go up a break at 3-2 in the second set. After Goffin recovered the break, one still expected Murray – who has never lost an ATP World Tour match to the Belgian – to take the match to a third but Goffin was relentless and he closed out an unexpected (but well-earned victory) when he broke Murray’s serve at 4-5 in the second set, reeling off three sensational winners in a row after the British player led 40-0.

Mubadala World Tennis Championships live stream: Abu Dhabi tennis live!

Murray won’t be seething, but he will be unwilling to lose two matches in a row at the very start of his 2017 season (even if we are still, officially, in the dying days of 2016). Next up for him is Milos Raonic, who lost to Rafael Nadal 1-6, 6-3, 3-6 on Friday as the pair play off for third/fourth place.

Currently at a career-high world no. 3 ranking, Raonic had a very impressive 2016 season which included a title in Brisbane, a first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, runner-up finishes at Queen’s and Indian Wells and semifinals at the Australian Open, Cincinnati, Beijing, Paris and the Mubadala World Tennis Championships. The Canadian did, however, suffer the indignity of losing coach Carlos Moya to Nadal over the off-season – after losing Ivan Ljubicic to Roger Federer in the past – although he has recruited Richard Krajicek to fill the vacancy left by Moya. 

Raonic played well against Nadal on Friday and did very well, given the Spanish player’s en fuego start to the match, to claw back the second set and take it to three, but ultimately Nadal was too aggressive and powerful from the baseline for him. That might not be the case against Murray. 

Murray has won eight straight matches against Raonic, not including the walkover from the Canadian in the semifinals of the Paris Masters which first sealed Murray’s elevation to world no. 1, but before that Raonic was 4-2 against Murray and some of their recent battles have been exceptionally close – a five-set tussle at the Australian Open last January, which turned in Murray’s favour due to injury issues for Raonic; the Queen’s final in June, when Raonic had a comprehensive lead; and their semifinal clash at the World Tour Finals, which couldn’t have been much closer before Murray finally edged it 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9). It’s extremely plausible, given how both played on Friday, that Raonic could follow in Goffin’s footsteps in capturing a rare win over Murray in Abu Dhabi – a win that, while technically meaningless, will only make the world no. 1’s life harder in the future. 

Murray vs Raonic is scheduled on court in Abu Dhabi on Saturday at 1pm local/9am GMT

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Andy Murray vs Milos Raonic Mubadala World Tennis Championships tennis live: Murray looks for last win of 2016

Murray vs Raonic Mubadala World Tennis Championships tennis live: Murray faces off for third place with Raonic at Abu Dhabi exhibition

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