Murray hopes to raise game in Dubai
World Number Three Andy Murray eased his way past Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in their first round encounter at the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open here on Tuesday.
Seeded No. 3 here, Murray showed flashes of brilliance in his hour and 45 minutes’ stay on centre court before an appreciative afternoon crowd. The Briton broke early for a 3-2 lead in the first before going through some intense rallies to finally take the set 6-4 in an hour and two minutes.
The second set was more competitive with Murray once again nosing ahead only to see Muller dig in deep and break back to draw level 5-5. Murray managed to keep things simple in the end to break back immediately and then serve out the set and match 7-5.
Murray will now meet Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round on Wednesday and the likelihood of a meeting with wild card Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-finals a day later.
Having registered his 490th career win in singles, Murray was pleased with the sound workout on centre court. “In the end, I think the end of both sets I didn’t serve so well. But apart from that, I didn’t give him any opportunities really. I feel like I got a little bit unlucky at the end of the second set. He got a couple of net cords in that last game, the 5-4 game where I got broken and yeah, did very well to respond straightaway and get the break right back. I thought I played a fairly high quality match,” Murray said.
The former Wimbledon and US Open champion was also pleased that he did not allow the left-handed Muller to dominate despite coming up with some great shots. “I made him work very hard on his service games. That was something I wanted to try to do from early on in the match. I think in the second service game, although I lost the game, it felt like it was eight or nine deuce points in that game — I don’t know how many there was,” he added.
Murray is aware of what he needs to expect from his second round opponent. “I played Sousa a few times. You know, he’s a tough opponent. He fights hard. In Australia, even though I was playing very well the first couple of sets, he still hung in. I was up two sets and a break but he kept fighting and got himself back into the match there. I would say that’s one of his biggest strengths,” Murray observed.
“I will need to play a solid match and be on it throughout because if you let your level drop against him, he takes advantage of it,” he added.