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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Dubai Open: Andy Murray earns 500th tour-level hard court victory against Denis Shapovalov

Murray won the first round match 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to notch up his second win in this year so far

Our Bureau, Reuters Dubai Published 27.02.24, 09:22 AM
Andy Murray

Andy Murray File image

Andy Murray beat Denis Shapovalov in three sets at the Dubai Open here on Monday, making an impressive come back from being a set down.

Murray won the first round match 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to notch up his second win in this year so far.

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After the match Murray suggested he may only have a “few months” left of his career. “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” he said after the victory.

Murray was on a six-match losing streak until last week when he secured his first win of the year in Doha.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh,” he said.

This was Murray’s 500th tour-level win on a hard court. The only other players who have achieved that feat in the Open Era are Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal.

“It’s not bad,” said Murray of his achievement in his on-court interview. “Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

Shapovalov edged a tight first set with a late break before Murray raised his game to level in the second-set tie-break. He then broke the Canadian twice in the deciding set as he wrapped up the match in two hours, 32-minute win to take a 2-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

“Both of us haven’t won too many matches lately,” said Murray. “He missed a large part of last year. He has played well here in the past and he’s serving unbelievable. You need to try and get the balance right between reacting to his big shots, but not just trying to get balls in the court. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to get it done in the end.” Murray is now 18-5 in Dubai, where he lifted the trophy in 2017.

Botic van de Zandschulp, Sebastian Korda and Alexander Bublik also advanced with early Monday wins in Dubai.

Van de Zandschulp upset sixth seed Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 for his first win against an opponent in the top 20 of the ATP rankings since last April. The Dutch will next play Korda, who raced past Pavel Kotov 6-0, 6-2.

The seventh-seeded Bublik came from a set down to win for the sixth time in nine matches by downing qualifier Tomas Machac 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5). The Kazak had won his fourth ATP Tour crown in Montpellier earlier this month.

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