Murray faces tough first match in Japan Open
Date published :
02 Oct 2012 - 12:17:26
London Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray stood firm in his service game to beat Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in the first round at the Japan Open tennis tournament on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old defending champion came back to court after winning the US Open last month and didn't face a single break point in his 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 victory.
"A good thing was I found last night that I was going to play Karlovic, so I had the evening to think about the match a little bit and I was able to practise this morning," said Murray.
"I was able to practise things I need to when I play against a big server and someone who comes into the net a lot.
"It's always hard. My opponent makes it a little bit tougher, but I stayed very well focused on my serve throughout the match," he added.
Karlovic, who replaced the injured Gael Monfils of France, had to save three break points in the first set -- twice by hitting an ace -- before going into the tie-breaker.
The veteran Croat had to save a set point at 5-6 down in the tie-breaker and then he himself missed a set point at 7-6 as Murray hit a forehand winner and went on to take an 8-7 lead.
Karlovic played a serve-and-volley game on the following point, only to see Murray fire a sizzling passing shot down the line to take the set.
Neither had a break opportunity in the second set until the 10th game, in which Murray had three match points at 5-4 and 0-40 on a Croat serve.
Karlovic, who hit his 18th service ace to save the first, got to the net to save another with an easy forehand, but his forehand shot went wide on the following point to surrender the match.
In the second round, the Briton will take on Lukas Lacko of Slovakia, who defeated Albert Ramos on Monday.
Sixth seed Milos Raonic of Canada coasted to a solid 6-4, 6-4 win over Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, while eighth seed Kei Nishikori defeated fellow Japanese Davis Cup teammate Go Soeda 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
In other first-round action, Jeremy Chardy of France outclassed Japan's Yuichi Sugita 6-1, 7-5, Tommy Robredo of Spain whipped Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-2, 6-4, and Dmitry Tursunov of Russia downed Bernard Tomic of Australia 6-4, 7-5.
Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus defeated Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, while Alejandro Falla of Colombia defeated Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 7-5, 6-2.