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Murray loses season opener to Goffin in Abu Dhabi

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(Reuters) - World number one Andy Murray started his new season with a surprise 7-6(4) 6-4 loss to David Goffin in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

After losing the opening set at the year-ending exhibition event, Murray, twice winner of the tournament, recovered to go 3-2 up in the second set but Goffin broke back twice and held serve to progress to the final.

Goffin will face either Milos Raonic or Rafael Nadal in Saturday’s final, with Murray, who lost just nine matches in his entire 2016 season, up against the loser of the semi-final.

Murray ended the year at the top of the men’s rankings for the first time having won titles including Wimbledon, the Rio Olympics and the ATP World Tour Finals.

Because the Abu Dhabi tournament is classed as an exhibition event, the 29-year-old Briton will carry his 24-match winning streak into the Qatar Open in Doha as he builds toward his push for a first Australian Open title next month.

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, Editing by Rex Gowar