Murray shakes off sluggish start to gain new year confidence boost

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray overcame a sluggish start to beat Filippo Volandri 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the Qatar Open here yesterday.

The Scot, who is fourth seed in the ATP event, looked out of sorts early on, losing the first set, but hit back to win the remaining two in confident fashion.

Murray lost a loose first set 6-4 as Volandri found his feet with a number of impressive winners.

Both men were beaten on their own serve as the momentum shifted almost by the game, but it was the Italian who hit form at the right time, winning the last two games to go 1-0 up in the match.

Murray came back well in the second set, despite a strong opening game from Volandri.

The 19-year-old, beaten at the baseline on a number of occasions in the opening set, advanced to the net early in the game only to see Volandri better him with a fine passing shot.

The Italian won that game, his third in a row, but after that Murray produced some of his best tennis, holding his own serve and breaking twice to go 4-1 up.

He served out again to make it 5-1, leaving Volandri with a tricky service game to save the set.

He narrowly won that but could not stop Murray, levelling the scores in the next game, wrapping up a 6-2 win in the second set.

Volandri saw his serve broken again in the fifth game of the third set but Murray held firm in the following game, coming back from break point to establish a 4-2 advantage.

It was a lead he did not look like losing as he went on to win the third 6-4 and book his place in the second round.

In the Auckland Classic, the Russian second seed Anastasia Myskina made a disappointing start to her 2007 campaign on Monday, falling at the first hurdle to Argentina's Gisela Dulko.

The world No 16, who slumped to a 6-1, 6-7, 6-2 defeat, said a toe injury may force her to miss the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on 15 January.

Myskina, playing for the first time since October, received treatment during the second set and looked ill at ease throughout her one hour, 51 minute defeat.

"I realised during the match that I may not be ready for the Australian Open," she told reporters.

Myskina later told officials she would be returning to Moscow for treatment and would skip next week's Sydney International.

Marion Bartoli came through the first match in the defence of her title, the Frenchwoman disposing of the 16-year-old Japanese Ayumi Morita 7-6, 6-3.