Mighty Murray dethrones Federer

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andy Murray claimed a remarkable three-set victory over world number one Roger Federer to progress to the second round of the Dubai Open.

The British number one narrowly lost the first set 8-6 on a tie break but clinically took the first break point in the second set to break Federer's serve in the sixth game.

Murray then broke Federer in the fifth game of the third set before he served out for a 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 6-4 win, his second straight victory over the Swiss having defeated him in Cincinnati in August 2006.

Both players confidently held serve in a tight first set in what was Federer's first match since his semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January.

The Swiss took a 6-5 lead and turned the screw in the 12th game as Murray surrended two points at 30-30 but the British number one hit a brilliant volley on the stretch to force a tie-break.

Murray claimed the first point against serve to take a 3-1 lead in the breaker and the rest of the points went with serve to leave Murray with a chance at 5-4, but Federer hit back to level.

The defending champion then broke Murray to make it 7-6 before he hit a huge forehand to win the tie break 8-6.

The early games of the second set followed a similar pattern to the first, with little to chose between the pair.

Murray led 3-2 and, after over an hour of the match, he was given his first opportunity to break the defending champion's serve at 30-40.

Federer went long in the rally and, with chances at premium, the Scot was able to capitalise with a brilliant forehand pass to take the game.

Murray then backed up the break with a love service game to take a 5-2 lead but Federer responded in typical fashion to force his opponent to serve for the set at 5-3.

Murray confidently served out to take the second second set 6-3 and move the match into a deciding set.

Murray seized the initiative in the first game of the third set and was presented with an early chance after Federer made a backhand error to give him two break points.

The 26-year-old Swiss regained his composure and fought back despite Murray's best efforts to take the game.

The next three games went with serve before Murray produced a brilliant set of returns to have three break points in the fifth game.

Federer's second serve was called long but Hawk-Eye ruled in the champion's favour and he was given another chance.

But Murray simply blasted a forehand at the world number one, who was unable to deal with the pace of the return.

Murray consolidated the break to take a 4-2 lead and both players held serve in the next three games which presented the Scot with the chance to serve for the match.

He took his chance in in style and produced a love service game to win the final set 6-4 and give Federer his first taste of defeat in a first-round match since 2004.

Murray said afterwards: "Anytime you get to play someone like Roger it is an honour to be on the same court as him.

"Each time I play him I step my game up and play pretty well and I played really well today and served great - which was really the key.

"Sometimes he's going to play some unbelievable shots and you are not going to have a chance against him - and I had to refocus at start of the second set."

Murray gave an insight into his 'hot yoga' sessions, which have helped him prepare for games in hotter climes.

He added on Eurosport: "It's a little bit ugly.

"I started in December to improve my flexibility in preparation for the Australian Open - it's tough to stay in a room that hot for that length of time."