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Murray loses to Croatian teen in quarterfinals in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Andy Murray was knocked out of the Dubai Championships on Thursday, losing to 18-year-old Borna Coric 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

Murray, who reached the Australian Open final at the beginning of the month, had 55 unforced errors and only 15 winners against the Croatian teen. Many of his shots were landing in the net or sailing beyond the lines.

“I would definitely say I was a little bit sluggish at the beginning of the match, but in the second set I definitely started to move a bit better, and play a little bit better,” Murray said. “But, yeah, I started the match not good.”

Coric, who never offered Murray a break-point opportunity, reached his second career ATP semifinal, where he will face Roger Federer.

Coric’s first semifinal came last year in Basel, Switzerland, after beating Rafael Nadal.

“He didn’t make many errors,” said Murray, who won his only other match against Coric in 2013 in the Davis Cup. “He played very solid and he moved well.

“I made way too many mistakes from the beginning of the match right through to the end.”

The 84th-ranked Coric, the youngest player in the top 100, briefly wobbled when he was at 2-1 in the second set.

“I started to realize that I can win this match, so I started a little bit (to) overthink,” Coric said. “But after two games I got my focus back.”

Coric entered the main draw as a lucky loser after Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew. And on Wednesday, he was tied at 4-4 in a third-set tiebreaker when Marcos Baghdatis retired from the match with cramps.

“I know I got a little bit lucky with coming in the main draw,” Coric said. “And also yesterday, I was actually very lucky because I was 4-1 down, double break, and also 5-3.

“But that’s tennis, and that’s life, and another day.”

Federer, the defending champion, advanced when Richard Gasquet retired from their quarterfinal with a back injury. Federer was leading 6-1 at the time.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic needed only 49 minutes to beat Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan 6-1, 6-1, and set up his semifinal against the fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych.

“He lacks a little bit of experience and confidence on being in the big stadium,” Djokovic said of Ilhan. “That’s where I used my opportunity from the start.”

Berdych, a finalist here the past two years, came through with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine.

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