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Murray throws in the towel on the 2018 season

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Andy Murray's ranking has dropped to 311 during his absence from the men's circuit. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Former world number one Andy Murray on Saturday ended his season when he announced his withdrawal from next week’s China Open in Beijing. Before the Shenzen Open, Murray said that the event in Beijing would be his final tournament of the 2018 campaign.


But the three time Gand Slam champion was forced to reassess his commitments following an ankle injury during his quarter-final defeat to Fernando Verdasco in Shenzhen on Friday night.

"I am very sorry to have to withdraw from the China Open," Murray said. "I was sincerely looking forward to returning to Beijing, where I won the championship just two years ago but there is no way I can compete effectively next week."

Verdasco got past the 31-year-old Briton 6-4 6-4 to advance to a semi-final against Yoshihito Nishioka. The winner will play either the fast improving Australian teenager Alex de Minaur or the Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in Sunday’s final.

Murray’s move is the latest high profile withdrawal from the China Open. The men’s world number one Rafael Nadal is out through injury while world number two Roger Federer said he would skip the event to prepare for the Shanghai Masters which starts on 6 October. Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are other notable absentees.

When he returned to the tour in the summer, Murray accepted he would have to remodel his game and manage his schedule as he continued his recovery from the operation in January on his hip.

"It was another three matches, which is positive," he said of his run in Shenzen. "But obviously I have higher ambitions than losing in the quarter-finals. I want to try to be better in these events. I need to spend more time on the practice court and the gym so that I'm more robust and physically in better shape."