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Murray Works Hard For First-round

Dubai, U.A.E.

Marin Cilic© Getty ImagesMarin Cilic

Second seed Andy Murray rallied from a set down Monday to defeat Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovksy to reach the second round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament.

Murray was within two points of victory in the third set when Stakhovsky retired with a left ankle injury. Stakhovsky was serving at 0/30 in the ninth game of the set when he handed Murray victory, 6-7(3), 6-3, 5-3 ret.

Stakhovsky had earlier taken a medical time out in the first set to receive treatment on the ankle, which he hurt after leaping for a smash.

Murray said he had ankle issues himself, indicating that his right ankle complaint was yet to fully heal.

"I think I hurt it again tonight," Murray said. "It was feeling better... I have an ankle strap. I was using an ankle brace, which kind of prevents you from rolling your ankle. But... you still have to stabilise your ankle with the strapping on. So it's really, really tight, and you don't have that much movement there.  It's tough to move it around at all."

On the victory, he said: "Well, I started out very aggressively.  I was hitting the ball great, and then I played a couple of bad games, struggling a bit on my serve to push up on my right leg, and I was hitting the ball very well from the ground. I was just giving him so many chances at second serves, and he was able to dictate more of the points as the set went on."

There were mixed fortunes for Croatian players in the first round as Marin Cilic (pictured) survived a scare against Janko Tipsarevic, while Ivo Karlovic was ousted by Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli.

Fifth seed Cilic recovered from a one-set deficit to secure his place in the second round with a 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over Tipsarevic of Serbia. The Zagreb resident, who suffered a first round defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic last year, improved to a 14-1 match record in 2009.

Cilic, this week a career-high No. 19 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, is playing his fourth tour-level event of the season. The 20 year old opened with his second ATP World Tour title in Chennai (d. Devvarman) then made a fourth round exit at the Australian Open (l. to del Potro) before winning his third ATP World Tour title at Zagreb (d. Ancic).

World No. 443 Chiudinelli saved one match point as he stunned seventh-seeded Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(7). The Swiss player led 6/4 in the third set tie-break but when Karlovic won the next three points he quickly went from holding two match points to facing one. However, Chiudinelli regrouped to win the final three points and even his head-to-head with Karlovic at 1-1.

Karlovic was not broken in the match, saving all four break points he faced. He also hit 19 aces and won 60 of 65 points on his first serve.

It is the 27-year-old Chiudinelli’s second victory on the ATP World Tour this season (2-2 record) after he also reached the second round in Johannesburg (l. to Chardy) as a qualifier.

Karlovic, who celebrates his 30th birthday on Saturday, dropped to a 4-5 match record on the season. The 29th-ranked Zagreb native has won back-to-back matches just once in five tour-level events this season, reaching the quarter-finals at Chennai (l. to Devvarman).

Fourth seed David Ferrer rallied from a set down to defeat another Croatian, Ivan Ljubicic, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. Ferrer did not face a break point in the last two sets. Ferrer improved to an 8-4 record on the season, highlighted by semi-final appearances in Auckland and Johannesburg.

 

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