Barring an early hiccup, Andy Murray’s first round in Dubai was a fairly smooth success over Tunisian Malek Jaziri, who started well but could not sustain his level and later said he suffered from dizzy spells during the match on Tuesday.
Murray, competing in the Dubai tournament for the first time since 2015, needed just 79 minutes to skip past the 51st-ranked Jaziri 6-4, 6-1 and set up a second round with Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
“The second set was obviously a bit easier. First set, especially the beginning, was tough. You know, first match is never easy, and playing someone who – you know, he goes for it and he takes chances,” said the world No1.
“So a little bit uneasy. I have never hit with him or played against him before. It took a little bit of time to get used to his game. But I played better as the match went on. The only thing I didn’t do well was the first serve. I didn’t hit my first serve that well. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe first match under the lights, haven’t practiced in those conditions since I have been here. The second serve was very good. The rest went well.”
Jaziri had the better start, putting pressure on the Murray serve and breaking first on a lucky net cord for a 2-1 lead.
Murray fired a backhand down-the-line winner to get a break point in the following game and Jaziri’s advantage did not last long as he mis-hit a forehand to let his opponent draw level.
The pair were neck and neck until Murray found an opening in game 10, getting a set point on the Jaziri serve and hitting a forehand down-the-line winner to take a one-set lead.
Down 0-40 on his own serve at 1-2, Jaziri halted play to seek medical assistance then got broken immediately upon resumption of play.
Jaziri’s level dropped significantly and he had to fight off three more break points in game six. It was not enough though and he sent a wild forehand wide to get broken again as Murray opened up a 5-1 gap.
Murray got his first match point with a smooth forehand winner that painted the sideline and he sealed the deal on another error from the Tunisian.
“I’ve had like five nosebleeds since I arrived to Dubai, I don’t know why,” Jaziri, who played in Marseille last week, said after the match.
“I was feeling good on Monday, and I was playing well in the beginning today but then I don’t know what happened at 5-4. I was feeling dizzy. I was going to call the doctor before that game but then I said maybe I’ll keep moving and it will pass. But then I was feeling worse. I was feeling a dizzy and had a headache all the way to the back of my neck. He played a good match, he made me move a lot.”
Murray, 29, said he did not notice anything wrong with Jaziri until he briefly stopped the match.
The Scot said he’s happy with how his own body feels, and that he seems to have fully recovered from a bout of shingles.
Murray is 2-1 head-to-head against his next opponent, Garcia-Lopez, who won their most recent meeting in Indian Wells in 2012.
“I don’t know exactly how many times we have played. I just remember I lost to him once in Indian Wells, you know, when I was feeling great, from what I remember,” recalls Murray.
‘The practice week before I was playing like some of the best tennis I had ever played, and then I went out there in the evening and really, really struggled. He killed me. I think it was like 3 and 2, or I remember it being a pretty easy match for him. I will need to be ready for that one, and I hope I play a good one.”
Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych was the last to make it through into the second round when his fellow Czech Lukas Rosol retired while down in the second set with a knee injury.
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