Doha | Murray snaps his losing run

Andy Murray has finally secured his first win of the season and snapped the run of six consecutive first round losses which have dogged him since the tail-end of last year.

It was getting tight at the end there as well, so delighted to get through. Andy Murray

The 36-year-old Briton, a former world No.1, defeated the French qualifier Alexandre Muller 6-1 7-6(5) in the opening round of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha and had to overcome knee problems to gain his place in the second round where he faces Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic.

Murray stormed into a 3-0 lead when it looked like his streak of defeats would continue as he called for the trainer to receive treatment for his left knee, but he returned to the court following a medical time out, to retain control and his knee held up throughout the one-hour 57-minute match.

Having broken Muller in his opening game, Murray secured a second break and held serve for the set for the loss of just one game.

Muller started to improve in the second, fighting back after falling behind to force a tie break and, for a while, a deciding third set seemed on the cards when the Frenchman gained a 4-2 lead.

However, the three-time grand slam champion responded to level at 5-5 and after claiming the next two points for victory with a backhand volley, let out a roar at finally securing that elusive win.

“The last few months have been really tough on the court for me,” Murray admitted in his on-court interview. “I’ve not won many matches and lost a lot of close ones as well.

“It was getting tight at the end there as well, so delighted to get through. So many people came out to watch for a first round, which is brilliant.

“I’m just proud I managed to get through the match and get another win under my belt and happy for my team who have been working extremely hard with me to get through these difficult moments and hopefully this is the start of a better run.”

Murray will now play Mensik, who defeated Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6(3) 6-4.

Meanwhile, fellow veteran Richard Gasquet got past the Kazak Alexander Shevchenko 6-4 6-4, setting up a mouthwatering tie against top seed from Russia, Andrey Rublev.

There was one upset as Germany’s big-hitting Jan-Lennard Struff, the tournament’s sixth seed, was ousted by Australia’s Christopher O’Connell 6-4 6-4 who goes on to meet Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, the 7-6(2) 7-5 winner Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri.



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