Qatar Open: Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares lose in doubles decider
Jamie Murray and his doubles partner Bruno Soares missed out on a first title of 2018 after losing in the final of the Qatar Open.
The top-seeded pair were beaten 2-6 6-7 (6-8) by second seeds Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Vavic of Croatia.
Murray and Soares battled to find fluency in the opening set with the Brazilian struggling on his serve.
The pair tried to rally in the second set but their opponents proved too strong in the tie-break.
In the men's singles, French wildcard Gael Monfils advanced to the final after the top seed Dominic Thiem withdrew ahead of their semi-final with a "very high fever".
The 24-year-old was the only seed left in the competition and had yet to drop a set on his way to the last four.
Thiem had beaten Evgeny Donskoy, Aljaz Bedene and Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets.
"I'm down with flu and I hope to recover as soon as possible," the Austrian said.
Monfils will now face Andrey Rublev in Saturday's decider after the Russian beat Guido Pella of Argentina 6-2 4-6 7-6.
Rublev, who is the current world number 39, hit 40 winners and saved one match point in the 10th game of the final set on Friday to secure his place in the final.
Thiem is the fourth big name to withdraw from the tournament in Doha, with Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also pulling out as they try to recover from injuries.
Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are injury doubts for the Australian Open, which starts in 10 days, while Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori have already been ruled out.
Meanwhile, in Pune, world number six and top seed Marin Cilic surprisingly lost to France's Gilles Simon in the Maharashtra Open semi-finals.
Simon, ranked 89th, was initially punished by Cilic for making a slow start and lost the first set before making a comeback to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
At the WTA Shenzhen Open in China, defending champion Katerina Siniakova beat former world number one Maria Sharapova to reach the final of the
The Czech player sent down 27 winners and 10 aces to triumph 6-2 3-6 6-3 and set up a meeting with world number one Simona Halep.
The Romanian top seed beat her compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-4.