Friday, 3 March 2017

Murray survives a big scare

Dubai has turned into the Andy Murray benefit, with the best credentialed opposition falling all around him.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Stan Wawrinka had departed the scene, and his exit was deemed so fashionable that fifth seed Tomas Berdych and sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut decided to follow his lead by losing second round matches to Robin Haase and Fernando Verdasco respectively.

Gael Monfils (4) remained the sole seed in the quarter finals in that section but he blew his chance with Verdasco continuing his charge in straight sets.
Haase and Verdasco are semi final opponents.

The biggest upset however was reserved for the great Roger Federer, fresh from his unexpected Aus Open triumph, and a comfortable first round win over Benoit Paire.  Having won the first set in quick time against Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy, ranked 116, Federer trashed three match points en route to losing the second set tie breaker and let a 5-1 lead in the deciding third set tie break slip. Donskoy amazingly won the final six points of the breaker to leave Federer baffled, and having to add another current player to the list of those with which he trails head to head.  Nadal, Djokovic, Donskoy - an imposing trio.

Murray has reached the semis without playing a seeded player, Gilles Muller stumbling at the first hurdle, but Phillipp Kohlschreiber has played as if ranked much higher than his current 29.

The quarter final with Murray should have gone the way of the German number two, after he won the first set and had seven match points in the second.  However Murray knows how to extract himself from difficulty, and the elongated second set tie break which was resolved 20-18, turned the match dramatically.  In fact it broke Kohlschreiber - Murray raced through the final set and will play seventh seed Lucas Pouille for a spot in the final.

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