Murray tunes up for Melbourne with Isner victory - Tennis - Sport - The Independent

Murray tunes up for Melbourne with Isner victory

Andy Murray will head to the Australian Open heartened by his performances in his first outing of the year at the Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth. The world No 4 won his third singles match of the week yesterday, beating the big-serving American John Isner 6-4, 6-2.

"I returned really well," Murray said after his victory over the world No 19. "It can be difficult playing against someone like him when he's serving a lot of aces, and it's important to return well. I enjoyed coming back here. It was great preparation for the Australian Open last year and now I've had three good singles matches again."

Laura Robson, however, completed a disappointing week, needing treatment to a muscle injury as she lost her third match in a row, 6-4, 6-2 to Bethanie Mattek-Sands. With Australian Open qualifying starting on Wednesday, the 16-year-old Briton took the precaution of withdrawing from the mixed doubles.

Meanwhile Ana Ivanovic and Francesca Schiavone pulled out of the tournament with stomach and groin strains respectively, casting doubts over their fitness for the year's first Grand Slam event, which starts in nine days' time. Ivanovic's withdrawal meant Serbia had to pull out of today's Perth final against the United States, who will now play Belgium.

The flu from which Rafael Nadal has been suffering all week finally caught up with him at the Qatar Open when he was beaten 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals by Nikolay Davydenko.

In today's final Davydenko will face Roger Federer, who maintained his record of not dropping a set in the tournament by beating France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6.

Federer said of his early first-set break: "It was a crucial service break for me. That set me up nicely for the remainder of the match."

Robin Soderling, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Matt Ebden, was due to face Radek Stepanek in today's semi-finals at the Brisbane International. Andy Roddick, the defending champion, was taking on Kevin Anderson in the other semi-final.

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