Murray battles on after another sluggish start


If Andy Murray carries on like this, his supporters will be nervous wrecks before the first month of the season is over. For the second match in succession, the 24-year-old Scot lost the opening set in his first tournament of the year before beating Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 4-6, 7-6, 6-0 to claim his place in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International.

Having faced two break points to go 5-3 down in the second set, Murray went even closer to defeat than he had against Mikhail Kukushkin 24 hours earlier, but once again the world No 4 improved rapidly in the closing stages to seal victory. Murray will play Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-finals tomorrow. He was due to appear on the same side of the net as the Cypriot today against Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner in the doubles.

Murray was playing in a bright orange shirt and blue shorts, but his tennis at the end of the first set was lacklustre. Having appeared in little trouble, the Scot handed Muller the advantage by playing four poor points in succession when he served at 4-5.

The match turned when Murray took control of the tie-break, in which he created four set points by winning a superb rally, chasing down a drop shot and then racing back to retrieve a ball struck deep to his backhand. Muller won only seven points in the final set before Murray completed victory after exactly two hours when the world No 54 hit a forehand beyond the baseline.

Murray admitted that it had taken him time to cope with Muller's big serve, though he always felt confident whenever he got into the rallies. The Scot, who wore strapping on his right knee, again looked to be in some discomfort but insisted that "it becomes easier with each match". He added: "I moved better in the second and third sets and that's such a big part of my game."

Earlier in the day, Serena Williams had physical problems despite recording a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski. The American, who was playing in her first tournament for four months, sprained an ankle and later withdrew from the tournament. She still hopes to be fit for the Australian Open, which begins in 11 days' time.

Rafael Nadal, whose start to the year has been hampered by a shoulder injury, showed improved form to beat Germany's Denis Gremelmayr 6-2, 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open in Doha. Roger Federer needed only an hour to beat Slovenia's Grega Zemlja 6-2, 6-3, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the No 3 seed, beat Italy's Flavio Cipolla 7-6, 6-3.

Elena Baltacha, the British No 1, who had won her opening match in Auckland, was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Flavia Pennetta in the second round. The first set was tight, with just one break point apiece, but while the Italian converted hers Baltacha was unable to do the same.

Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot