Andy Murray loses in last 16 at Rennes Open

Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray has a wildcard for the Metz Open next week. Murray had lost in the first round of the US Open to world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas

Andy Murray hopes to build his ranking at ATP events to avoid facing top players in the opening match of future Grand Slams.   -  AFP

Former world number one Andy Murray was knocked out in the last-16 of the second-tier Challenger in Rennes on Wednesday as the three-time major winner continued his search for late-season momentum.

Murray, now down at 116 in the world, lost to 158th-ranked Roman Safiullin of Russia, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

The 34-year-old Murray, pushed to the brink of retirement in 2019 by a hip injury, managed to save three match points before succumbing.

Murray had defeated Germany's Yannick Maden 6-3, 6-1 in the first round on Monday in front of around 2,000 fans.

Raducanu title very special, says Murray  

Just two weeks earlier, he had been playing on the 24,000-capacity Arthur Ashe Court in New York, losing a fiery five-setter to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the US Open.

"One of the goals between now and the end of the year is to try and make a big improvement with my ranking, and to do that, I need to be competing often," said Murray earlier this week.

"I still feel like I can play a very high level, but if all of the time when I go to the big tournaments I play top players right at the beginning of the event, it's not so easy."

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