Dubai: World No. 1 Andy Murray took his first step towards a maiden Dubai title with an entertaining 6-4, 6-1 win over the Arab world’s top player Malek Jaziri, while unheralded debutant Damir Dzumhur sent defending champion Stan Wawrinka crashing out at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
Murray got a good measure of his opponent from Tunisia to secure a 78-minute win over Jaziri, while the 77-ranked Dzumhur secured a second win over a top-10 player with a dominant 7-6 (4), 6-3 result over Wawrinka.
Jaziri broke in the third to nose ahead 2-1, but couldn’t hold on to the early advantage as Murray broke back immediately and then a second break in the tenth was enough for the Scot to take the set 6-4 in 46 minutes.
In the second set, both stayed on serve till the fourth game when Jaziri called for the physio while trailing 1-2 and 0-40 on serve. Though a diversion, that intermission was just enough for the world number one as he broke and held to go 4-1 clear to clean up the set in quick time.
Jaziri later disclosed that he had been suffering from sudden nose bleeds since his arrival in Dubai from Europe two days back. “I’ve had these sudden nose bleeds for at least five times since I arrived here, and tonight I started feeling dizzy and my head was throbbing,” Jaziri explained.
“I think I still gave a good account of myself and fought well on court. For sure, we will be looking at the game with my coach and trying to see where improvements can be made,” the Tunisian added.
Murray was relieved to get through the opening round. “The beginning was tough and he [Jaziri] took his chances as he had nothing to lose against me. In addition, this was the first time for me under lights,” the Scotsman later said.
“Tomorrow is a different day and I will need to be sharper and more clinical against Guillermo [Garcia-Lopez] as he has beaten me a couple of times,” he added.
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Meanwhile, Dzumhur secured his place in the second round with a clinical 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over defending champion Wawrinka, while Lucas Pouille was always in control with his 6-2, 6-2 sweep in 54 minutes against Adam Pavlasek.
Coming in from Florida after his second round loss to Juan Martin del Potro at last week’s Delray Beach Open, the 24-year-old Dzumhur overcame a late spell of nervousness to register his first win against his Swiss opponent.
Serving for the match, Dzumhur had three double faults in the seventh game that allowed Wawrinka his first break of the second set and still trail the Bosnian 3-5. But he held his nerve to win in 72 minutes and register the first major upset of the men’s week.
His biggest win so far was his 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 defeat of Tomas Berdych in the second round in Monte Carlo last year. The Bosnian had also won in Miami after Rafael Nadal had retired with the score reading 2-6, 6-4, 3-0.
“I expect tough matches. He’s playing good. I saw him play this year already. I need to focus on myself. I need to practice more, to get in better level, and expect to do some good results. I’m quite unhappy to lose in the first round. It’s tough, because I played well last year here. I was happy to be back on the ATP Tour after a month,” Wawrinka rued.
(Round One Men’s singles)
Damir Dzumhur bt Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 6-3;
Lucas Pouille bt Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2;
Fernando Verdasco bt Andreas Seppi 6-2, 7-5;
Daniel Evans bt Dustin Brown 6-2, 6-3;
Daniil Medvedev bt Omar Behroozian 6-2, 7-5;
Evgeny Donskoy bt Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-4;
Marius Copil bt Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-2;
Andy Murray bt Malek Jaziri 6-4, 6-1.
Rohan Bopanna/Marcin Matkowski bt Ivan Dodig/Marcel Granollers 5-7, 6-3 11-9;
Florin Mergea/Viktor Troicki bt Karen Khachanov/Benoit Paire 6-7 (5), 6-4, 10-6;
Daniel Nestor/Eduoard Roger-Vasselin bt James McGee/David O’Hare 6-1, 6-1.
Order of Play (Wednesday)
(Start at 2pm) Roberto Bautista Agut vs Fernando Verdasco;
Daniel Evans vs Gael Monfils;
(Not before 7pm)
Andy Murray vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez;
Roger Federer vs Evgeny Donskoy.
Court 1 (Start at 2pm)
Daniil Medvedev vs Philipp Kohlschreiber;
Marius Copil vs Lucas Pouille;
(Not before 4.30pm)
Tomas Berdych OR Lukas Rosol vs Robin Haase;
Marcel Granollers vs Damir Dzumhur;
James Cerretani/Philipp Oswald vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez/Leander Paes.
Court 3 (Start at 3pm)
Florin Mergea/Viktor Troicki vs Rohan Bopanna/Marcin Matkowski;
Lucas Pouille/Fernando Verdasco vs Philipp Kohlschreiber/Florian Mayer;
Henri Kontinen/John Peers vs Daniel Evans/Gilles Muller
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