Murray starts year with a win


Published: Thursday 1st January 2015 by The News Editor

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Andy Murray recorded a hard-fought victory over Feliciano Lopez in the first round of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The 27-year-old Scot battled for two-and-a-half hours against his Spanish opponent, who was making his debut in the event, before claiming a 7-6 5-7 6-4 triumph to set up a semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal.

Murray raced into a 3-1 lead in the first set, winning the fourth game with a cross-court backhand return off Lopez’s serve before his opponent broke back to make it 3-3.

The next five games went with serve, handing the 2013 Wimbledon champion a 6-5 lead with Lopez winning on serve and forcing a tie-breaker which Murray clinched 7-1 to take the first set.

Both players held their serve as the second set got under way, with Lopez leading 4-3 before Murray levelled matters, winning the 10th game to make it 5-5 before the Spaniard stormed the 12th game and levelled the scores with a 7-5 triumph to set up a nail-biting finish.

Murray responded by breaking his opponent to win the first game of the third set, while Lopez in turn broke back and also won the next game to go 2-1 ahead.

But the Scot fought back hard and battled to a 5-4 lead – despite Lopez reaching break point twice in a row which he failed to convert – and held on to win the first competitive match of 2015 and advance to Friday’s semi-finals.

Murray, who defeated two-times winner Nadal in the final when the competition was first launched in 2009, told “I’ve played at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship a number of times now and I’ve always found it to be very good preparation, you always get a very good crowd.

“It’s a great way to start the year to try and play some matches against the best players in the world and it gets you very sharp for the beginning of the year.”

In Thursday’s second game, Stan Wawrinka saw off another Spaniard in Nicolas Almagro with a straight-sets victory in just over an hour.

Wawrinka put on a dominant display to clinch the first set 6-3 before Almagro, who replaced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the tournament as the Frenchman nurses an arm injury, came out of the blocks flying – winning the first game of the second without dropping a point.

But his Swiss opponent got the better of him and turned the set around as he raced to a 6-2 victory to set up a last-four clash with world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Published: Thursday 1st January 2015 by The News Editor

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