Winning start to 2012 for Andy Murray


Andy Murray survived a scare before battling back to see off Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin in his first match of 2012 at the Brisbane International today.

Murray ended 2011 in some style with victories in three of his final five tournaments before a groin injury ended his challenge at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but he almost suffered a miserable start to his new season after dropping the first set against a player ranked 91st in the world.

However, he recovered to earn a 5-7 6-3 6-2 win in two hours and 10 minutes.

The world number four and top seed, whose new coach Ivan Lendl is due to arrive in Queensland later this week, will now face Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in the second round.

In his first meeting with Kukushkin at this level, Murray could hardly have had a worse start as he found himself trailing 4-0 just 20 minutes into the contest.

The 24-year-old Scot managed to save one break point during that time but lost the other two as Kukushkin broke in the first and third games while also holding his opening two service games.

The British number one finally got on the scoreboard in game five, but Kukushkin held again to make it 5-1 and then the Kazakh player fashioned a set point on Murray's next service game.

However, Murray was able to save that and it looked like being the turning point for the Scot as he rattled off four successive games to level the scores up at 5-5.

But, in serving to make it 6-5, Murray suffered another setback as Kukushkin broke again and then, after Murray had missed a break point of his own that would have levelled it back up at 6-6, his opponent served out for the set.

That was hardly the start to new year that Murray would have been hoping for, but he got himself back on track by winning the second set, making the decisive break in the fourth game.

Murray then made quick work of Kukushkin in the third set to clinch the match.

After the opening four games had gone with serve, Murray broke in the both the fifth and seventh games to take the set and the contest.