Long road back to form for Murray

Andy Murray attempting to hit a return during his second-round match against Daniil Medvedev at the Queensland Tennis Centre in Brisbane yesterday. The Russian won in straight sets.
Andy Murray attempting to hit a return during his second-round match against Daniil Medvedev at the Queensland Tennis Centre in Brisbane yesterday. The Russian won in straight sets.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BRISBANE • Russia's Daniil Medvedev showed Andy Murray just how much work he still has to do when he beat the former world No. 1 in straight sets at the Brisbane International yesterday.

Murray is making a comeback to competition after a disastrous 2018, during which he played just six tournaments and was out for 11 months with a hip injury.

He had a comfortable first-round win over James Duckworth, but found the going too tough against Medvedev as the 22-year-old Russian cruised to a 7-5, 6-2 win in just 80 minutes.

Medvedev is a rising star of the sport, winning seven titles last year on his way to a world ranking of 16.

He broke Murray early in the first set and, although the Scot got back on level terms, Medvedev broke again late in the first set to gain the advantage. Murray was broken twice at the start of the second to trail 0-4 and there was no way back for the 31-year-old.

"In the second set, I made a few too many mistakes, and obviously there was a period in the match from 5-5 where I lost six games in a row," Murray said.

"And I think when you obviously play better players, I mean he's 15th in the world or so, they will expose any errors that you make in your game or any shots that you're not hitting particularly well. And he did that tonight."

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal's MRI scan revealed a slight strain of his left thigh and, after consulting his doctors, he withdrew from the tournament to ensure he would be fit for this month's Australian Open.

 

In Doha, Novak Djokovic took just 55 minutes to claim his first win of the new year, brushing aside Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the Qatar Open on Tuesday.

At the Hopman Cup yesterday, Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber steered Germany closer to a second straight final after winning their singles matches against lower-ranked French opponents.

The German duo made it two wins from as many Group A outings in Perth, beating France 2-1.

Kerber had to come from a set down to beat Alize Cornet 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, while Zverev defeated Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-7 (8-10), 6-2. In the Fast4 format mixed doubles, France gained some consolation with a 4-3 (5-4), 4-3 (5-3) win.

In the same group, Australia's Ashleigh Barty beat Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-3, 6-4, before David Ferrer levelled the tie, beating Matthew Ebden 7-6 (7-1), 7-5. The Australian pair edged the mixed doubles decider 3-4 (3-5), 4-3 (5-0), 4-3 (5-3).

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2019, with the headline 'Long road back to form for Murray'. Print Edition | Subscribe