Murray recovers to open new year with win
Wednesday 04 January 2006
Losing the opening set of his second year on the ATP Tour will have done Andy Murray no harm, serving as a reminder that his career is likely to become increasingly difficult now that word of his talent has spread through the locker-rooms.
The 18-year-old from Dunblane responded to the early setback at the Adelaide International by allowing his opponent, Paolo Lorenzi, an Italian qualifier, only two more games in winning, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Murray now plays the 6ft 4in Czech Tomas Berdych, whom the Scot defeated in three sets in the second round in Basle last October. That victory was particularly significant, coming after Murray's defeat of Tim Henman in his first match against the British No 1.
Controlling the emotions that accompanied his success against Henman, Murray concentrated on probing any weaknesses in Berdych's game, playing sliced shots to make his lofty opponent stoop for the ball.
Berdych, it may be remembered, was the last player to beat Roger Federer in 2004, the Czech's win ending the Wimbledon champion's participation in the Athens Olympic Games.
After losing to Murray in Basle, Berdych joined an élite group of players who have won Masters Series titles, taking advantage of an injury-weakened draw at the Paris Masters.
The winner of the Murray-Berdych match may find himself facing Lleyton Hewitt in the Australian former No 1's home town. Hewitt must first take care of Philipp Kohlschreiber, of Germany, having defeated the Czech Jan Hernych in the first round, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Mark Philippoussis, of Australia, a former finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open, showed glimpses of his old self in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win against the American Vince Spadea.
"It's good to get out on court and get that monkey that turned into a gorilla off my shoulders," Philippousis said. "I've been working hard in Miami and I know I still have my best tennis yet to play," he added.
Jelena Dokic, estranged from her controversial father, Damir, and embracing the Australian flag again, was unable to avoid tears at the Auckland tournament. Currently ranked 376, Dokic, the former world No 4, double-faulted 28 times in losing to Julia Schruff, of Germany, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1.
"I was very scared of playing again, because I haven't been in this position for a long time,' the 22-year-old Dokic said. "Considering where my ranking is, I wasn't even supposed to play close to a girl ranked 80 in the world."
Dokic left Australia for Serbia and Montenegro in 2001 after her father claimed the Australian Open draw had been rigged against her.
The 25-year-old Swiss Martina Hingis warmed up for the second singles contest of her comeback at the Australian Hardcourts tournament on the Gold Coast, against the Czech, Klara Koukalova, by winning a doubles match in partnership with Tatiana Golovin, of France. Hingis and Golovin defeated the Athens Olympic gold medallists, Li Ting and Sun Tiantian of China, 6-1, 6-4.
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