World No 1 cruises but Wawrinka crashes out

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WORLD No 1 Andy Mur­ray eased into the sec­ond round of the Dubai Tennis Cham­pi­onships on Tues­day on his re­turn five weeks af­ter suf­fer­ing a shock Aus­tralian Open exit.

The top seed, now fully fit af­ter a bout of shin­gles, beat Malek Jaziri 6-4, 6-1, avoid­ing the fate of sec­ond seed and ti­tle holder Stan Wawrinka, dumped out as his form col­lapsed fol­low­ing an early 4-1 lead.

“I was a lit­tle bit uneasy, I’ve never hit with him or played against him be­fore,” Mur­ray said. “It took a lit­tle bit of time to get used to his game.

“But I played bet­ter as the match went on. I don’t feel sore any­where, re­ally.

“I felt like I moved good and the body felt good.”

Mur­ray, who was knocked out in the fourth round in Mel­bourne, had to work for 45 min­utes to win the open­ing set but the Scot ran away with the sec­ond against the out­classed Jaziri.

Mur­ray will face Spain’s Guillermo Gar­cia-Lopez next.

In con­trast, the Swiss three­time Grand Slam win­ner Wawrinka was beaten 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in the first round by out­sider Damir Dzumhur.

Wawrinka was play­ing for the first time since suf­fer­ing a right knee in­jury in Mel­bourne, where he reached his eighth ma­jor semi­fi­nal be­fore falling to com­pa­triot Roger Fed­erer.

Fol­low­ing de­feat by the 77thranked jour­ney­man from Bos­ni­aHerze­gov­ina, he ad­mit­ted that his fit­ness was lack­ing af­ter only a week of prac­tice.

“I started well but it was tough be­cause I was miss­ing a lit­tle bit of some­thing. In prac­tice it was start­ing to be OK the last few days, but to­day I was miss­ing some­thing.”

Dzumhur will now face Mar­cel Gra­nollers of Spain.

“This is a big win for me, com­ing on hard court against a player who likes this sur­face and who won the tour­na­ment last year,” the sur­prise win­ner said.

Af­ter tak­ing an early lead, Wawrinka found his game slip­ping. By the time he got the first­set tiebreak, he was play­ing catch-up.

The Swiss was bro­ken twice for 5-1 in the sec­ond set be­fore a brief rally in which he broke back once.

De­spite his exit Wawrinka said that his knee was giv­ing him no pain, a pos­i­tive sign head­ing into back-to-back Mas­ters 1,000 events start­ing next week in In­dian Wells and Mi­ami.

“I need to fo­cus on my­self. I need to prac­tise more, to get in a bet­ter level to ex­pect to do some good re­sults,” Wawrinka said.

“I’m quite un­happy to lose the first round. It’s tough be­cause I played well last year here. I was happy to be back. I was happy to be back on the ATP Tour af­ter a month.”

Fifth seed To­mas Berdych needed just half an hour to win af­ter fel­low Czech Lukas Rosol quit with a knee in­jury trail­ing 63, 2-1.


Andy Mur­ray re­turns a shot to Malek Jaziri in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Cham­pi­onships on Tues­day.

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