Murray sick of critics but answers in perfect style

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The Independent Online

Who would have imagined after Murray qualified last Friday to make his debut in the year's concluding Grand Slam tournament that he would out-last his compatriots, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, as well as Roddick, the great American hope?

Last year's US Open junior champion from Dunblane has certainly made his mark on the tournament, though his vomit on Grandstand Court during the final set against Pavel has been cleaned up.

Murray is due to continue his adventure tomorrow when he plays a fellow qualifier, Arnaud Clement, of France, in the second round. Not that Clement is the average qualifier, as he showed by defeating Juan Carlos Ferrero, the Spanish former world No 1 and former French Open champion, in the first round.

The 27-year-old Clement, ranked 91st, had a harder time qualifying than Murray, having saved three match points against Danai Udomchoke, of Thailand.

Murray, who had envisaged playing Ferrero, appraised the situation. " Obviously, Ferrero's one of the best players in the world. My chances wouldn't have been so good against him. But Clement has been struggling a little bit. It's probably an easier match than it would have been against Ferrero."

Along with an impressive back-court game, Murray has great determination and attitude. After recovering from two sets to one down to defeat Pavel, 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, he put a finger to his lips in the manner of the Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho.

Murray made a similar gesture after winning his final round of qualifying. It is his way of silencing those who have criticised his physical condition, especially after his five-set defeat by David Nalbandian in the third round at Wimbledon.

"I feel like I proved a lot of people wrong," Murray said. " After what everybody said about me at Wimbledon ­ 'He's not fit enough, he doesn't work hard enough' ­ I've just won a five-set match from two sets to one down."

As for the vomiting, which caused a 21-minute delay, Murray said it was caused by swallowing a drink too quickly. "I felt like I was going to burp, and then everything came up. I didn't feel sick at all after that." Except, he added, at then losing his serve at 2-0 after he had built momentum.

The 31-year-old Pavel, although upset by a line call in the fifth set, and docked a point for swearing at the umpire, Tony Nimmons, was quick to praise Murray. "I couldn't get rhythm with his game," he said. "He played these really slow balls that I didn't like."

Should Murray defeat Clement, he will be ranked inside the top 100, the goal he set himself at the beginning of the year. "If I win my next match, I'm inside that with three or four months left. You just have to take it from there, because you don't know exactly how you're going to cope playing the ATP tournaments week in, week out."

Roddick's defeat by the Muller, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, fell on the American's 23rd birthday, though the spectators put sentiment aside and gave the Luxembourg left-hander a rousing reception.

In spite of high winds yesterday, a semblance of order was restored. Lleyton Hewitt, the third seed, served with pace and placement to sweep past Albert Costa, of Spain, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. In the women's singles, there were straight-sets wins for Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams. Clijsters defeated Abiola Zuluaga, of Colombia, 7-5, 6-0, while Sharapova beat Dally Randriantefy, of Madagascar, 6-1, 6-0.

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