A week in which you have beaten the world No 1 will always be a source of satisfaction but Andy Murray will also look back on the Barclays Dubai Championships as a missed opportunity after his defeat by Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter-finals here yesterday. By disposing of Roger Federer in the first round Murray had opened up his route to a possible third final of the year, but instead it will be Davydenko, a player he had beaten in their three previous meetings, who will meet Feliciano Lopez, the world No 41, in today's semi-finals.
Davydenko, the world No 5, is one of the game's most under-rated players. Murray, nevertheless, had his number in recent meetings and his 7-5, 6-4 defeat here was due as much to his own up-and-down display as it was to Davydenko's dogged determination not to make mistakes. There were spells – most notably when he won nine points in a row to take a 3-0 lead in the second set – when Murray was thumping the ball with great freedom, but at others he went into his shell.
The British No 1 had his opportunities. Davydenko saved break points in the second and fourth games of the first set and even after the Russian had broken to lead 6-5 the Scot had a point to take the first set into a tie-break. After playing a ragged game to lose his early advantage in the second set, Murray had two immediate chances to restore it, but hit a backhand out when a down-the-line winner beckoned and then drove a loose forehand beyond the baseline. Davydenko won five games in a row and served out to take the match.
"I wasn't disappointed with the way I was hitting the ball, but I was disappointed that I didn't take my chances," Murray said. "For me the most important one was the second game of the match. I think against a top player if you can stamp your authority early and get ahead, you're going to start to relax and they're going to try and up their game, and they can start to make mistakes."
Rafael Nadal followed Federer out of the tournament when he was beaten 7-6, 6-2 by Andy Roddick. The world No 2 could not handle Roddick's thunderous serve and made far too many errors. The American finished with two successive aces, the first of which was timed at 150mph, just 5mph short of his own world record. Roddick now plays Novak Djokovic, who dropped only three games in beating Igor Andreev.Reuse content