Murray eases past Clement
Wednesday 25 February 2009
Andy Murray booked a rematch with Richard Gasquet after easing to a first victory over Arnaud Clement in the second round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships today.
The British number one proved too strong for experienced Frenchman Clement, wrapping up a 6-2 6-3 win in less than 90 minutes, with his serve particularly effective.
There was also no sign of the ankle injury that forced Murray to pull out of the Open 13 in Marseille last week and affected him in his first-round win over Sergiy Stakhovsky on Monday.
But the 21-year-old is likely to have a much tougher test in the quarter-finals tomorrow against Gasquet, who he famously came back from two sets down to beat in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.
Murray was immediately in the ascendancy today, setting up two break points in Clement's opening service game, but two big serves from the Frenchman brought him back to deuce and he eventually held.
It was the third meeting between the pair, with Clement having won both previous matches - the first of which came in the second round of the US Open in 2005.
However, their last meeting was in 2006, when Murray was still a promising teenager.
Clement's career has gone in the opposite direction - ranked in the top 10 in 2001, he is now down to 73.
The 31-year-old showed he was going to be no pushover by creating a break point on Murray's first service game, but he just overcooked a backhand and the Scot levelled.
After two near misses, Murray who secured a break in the third game - the 21-year-old taking the first three points and then being handed the advantage by a Clement double fault.
Murray had to save two more break points in the sixth game as his opponent continued to trade blow for blow in the baseline rallies.
But the second seed always seemed to just have the edge and he moved into a 5-2 lead with a second break of serve.
Murray, bidding for his third ATP Tour title of the season, was serving particularly well and his seventh ace brought up two set points, of which he needed only one.
Despite the scoreline, Clement had not been outclassed in the first set and he began the second in determined fashion.
However, Murray held firm on serve and the Frenchman found himself an early break down again as the world number four moved into a 2-1 lead.
Clement was simply making too many mistakes to really pressure his opponent, but it was a touch of class which earned Murray another service hold - a superb backhand drop-shot giving Clement no chance.
By now the 31-year-old knew the game was up and Murray earned two more break points in the fifth game, although this time Clement held firm.
It was a brief reprieve, however, the Scot easily holding his own serve and setting up a first match point on the Clement serve at 3-5.
The Frenchman saved that with an ace but a searing forehand return brought up a second and another forehand winner saw Murray seal victory.
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