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Mayer Fight Back Stuns Murray; Ferrer Falls

Doha, Qatar

Mayer© AFP/Getty ImagesFlorian Mayer recorded the 11th Top 10 win of his career on Wednesday.

Florian Mayer broke a three-match losing streak against World No. 4 Andy Murray for a spot in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open quarter-finals - one of four upsets by German players on New Year's Day in Doha.

Mayer, who earned one Top 10 win last season against David Ferrer in the Shanghai Rolex Masters, beat third seed Murray for the first time, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes.

Mayer, who fought back from a one-set and 0-3 deficit, is now 11-43 lifetime against players in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

"To be honest, in my mind, the match was finished at 3-6, 0-3," said Mayer. "[But] I tried to play more aggressively, tried to risk something more. Of course for sure he didn't play his best tennis.

"I knew before the match if I would have a chance, it's probably today. He didn't play for a long time. [So] I took my chance."

Murray, who won the 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and 2009 (d. Roddick) titles, finished 2013 in the Top 4 for the sixth straight season. He was contesting his first tour-level tournament since mid-September, due to a back injury.

"I felt like I slowed down in the second set, service speed and movement," said Murray. "It wasn't a particular area that was sore. Just more joints rather than muscles, just a bit sore from changing direction and playing at that level. 

"But I was playing well. I played some good tennis today. I moved well at the beginning of the match, so that was a positive, and I did say the only way to feel better is by playing matches. So today was a start."

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Victor Hanescu, who will next play Mayer, knocked out eighth seed Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2 in one hour and 58 minutes. It was his first win against the Spaniard since 2004 Bucharest.

Second seed Ferrer became another seeded casualty on Wednesday, falling to another German, Daniel Brands, 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 15 minutes. The World No. 3, who edged Alexandr Dologopolov in three sets on Tuesday, lost serve three times against the 54th-ranked Brands. 

Brands reached the Doha semi-finals last year as a qualifier before falling to eventual champion Richard Gasquet. His victory against Ferrer was his fifth against a Top 10 player. He recorded two Top 10 wins last year, including one against Roger Federer in Gstaad.

In other upsets, German Dustin Brown withstood 21 aces from Ivo Karlovic and saved four match points – one on the Croatian’s serve – to grind out a 3-6, 7-6(13), 6-4 win in one hour and 49 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in an all-German encounter, qualifier and World No. 162 Peter Gojowczyk defeated sixth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(4), 7-6(7) in one hour and 42 minutes. 

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