Shanghai Masters 2014: Andy Murray makes hard work of Teymuraz Gabashvili in first round

The Scot is chasing points ahead of the ATP World Tour Finals

Click to follow

Andy Murray was made to work hard before claiming a straight-sets victory over Teymuraz Gabashvili to reach the second round of the Shanghai Masters.

The 27-year-old Scot, seeded 11th here, triumphed with a 6-1 7-5 win in an hour and 25 minutes as he moved closer to qualifying for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.

After sailing through the first set, Murray started to struggle in the second, trailing 5-3 at one point to the Georgian qualifier before he struck back to record a win and set up a second-round meeting with Poland's Jerzy Janowicz.

Gabashvili took the first game of the second set before the 2013 Wimbledon champion gained some momentum to move 2-1 up and his Georgian opponent levelled the scores after the fourth.

After some great tennis from both players in the fifth game, Gabashvili went 3-2 ahead as he started to make things difficult for the world number 11.

The Georgian played for a good point, winning a rally as Murray failed to reach the ball near the net before the British number one lobbed the ball out at the back of the court as Gabashvili went 4-2 in front.

Murray looked a little more comfortable as the set went on and won the next game but lost his way again, losing some valuable points following some big hits from his opponent, who moved 5-3 ahead.

Playing for the set, Gabashvili began to lose his focus, tossing his racquet as he hit the net and Murray managed to pull a game back.

It then looked like the Scot would succumb to frustration but - after twice having the advantage at deuce in the 10th game - he fought for the point to level matters once again.

The under-pressure Gabashvili decided on a change of racquet as he tried to come back into the match but Murray moved 6-5 ahead to hold a strong position before the world number 52 began make a number of errors and the Scot advanced.

Murray told Sky Sports 3: "I started the match well and he wasn't in very much of a rhythm at the beginning and I was dictating a lot of the points and using good variety, and that helped.

"At the beginning of the second set I played a sloppy game on my serve and he gained some confidence from that and started playing better. He was timing the ball a lot better in the second set and I had to find a way to get through in the end.

"I started using a variety again at the end of the second set. I was using a lot more high balls up to his backhand and that was pushing him back off the baseline and I was able to dictate the points.

"It was a good start for me....but there's still some work to be done."

Murray moved up to ninth place in the race to reach the Finals as he followed up his tournament win in Shenzhen with a semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic in Beijing last week.

Only the top eight in the standings at the end of the regular season are guaranteed a place at the O2 Arena next month, with Murray currently trailing eighth-placed Milos Raonic by 175 points. Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already qualified.

PA

Comments