ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Andy Murray's 2013 season got off to a shaky start Thursday with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Janko Tipsarevic in the opening match of the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament.
Two early breaks in each set helped Tipsarevic dispatch the third-ranked Murray. The Serb next faces Nicolas Almagro, a late replacement for Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the tournament with a stomach bug.
"It's not every day that you get to play a Grand Slam champion and an Olympic gold medalist," said Tipsarevic, who is ranked No. 9. "I know it's an early-season tournament, but I can tell you that the six of us take this very seriously."
"I knew I could beat Andy as I have beaten him before," he added. "He's a totally different animal now as he won a Grand Slam and Olympic gold, so beating him here has given me confidence."
In Thursday's other match, fifth-ranked David Ferrer defeated sixth-ranked Tomas Berdych, 6-2, 6-4, to set up a semifinal against top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who won the tournament last year.