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Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Andy Murray v Igor Kunitsyn as it happened


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By Ben Dirs

Murray 6-2 6-3 Kunitsyn
Murray's served 12 aces and only lost five points on his first serve - and now he's got some new balls to play with. That's peche de la peche from Murray, just nudging a drop-shot over on the forehand side, but that's a fine pass from Kunitsyn to set up a break-back point. Murray sends down an unreturnable first serve, before sending down an away-swinger that leaves Kunitsyn fencing at mid-air. And that's that, eventually a pretty straightforward win for a rusty-looking British number one, he'll play Seppi or Tipsarevic next.

*Murray 6-2 5-3 Kunitsyn
Murray playing some lazy-looking shots as Kunitsyn races into a 40-0 lead, it's got all the hallmarks of a practice match this. Kunitsyn makes a couple of errors, but Murray bunts a backhand return long for a service hold.

Murray 6-2 5-2 Kunitsyn*
As it approaches 11pm in Dubai, the arena thins out and will soon be almost bald. Kunitsyn can't cope with the heat on that Murray forehand, and Murray wins the game at the net, Kunitsyn pushing an attempted pass long.

*Murray 6-2 4-2 Kunitsyn
Dreamy sliced backhand drop-shot from behind the baseline from Murray, but Kunitsyn burrows his way back into the game with some good deep hitting. But that's a break for Murray, he can take the handbrake off now and coast home.

Murray 6-2 3-2 Kunitsyn*
It's as if someone's turned the hob off underneath Murray, another unforced error makes it 0-15. He sends down an ace though to make it 30-15, but Kunitsyn immediately makes it 30-30. Murray comes into the net, but the Russian sees him coming and easily executes the lob. Murray slashes at the ground with his racquet, before bringing it back to deuce with another ace. Backhand into the net from Kunitsyn, and Murray wraps things up with ace number 12 down the middle.

*Murray 6-2 2-2 Kunitsyn
That Murray serve working at around 60% at the moment, which is pretty good. Murray toying with Kunitsyn a little now, and he has the Russian scrabbling across the baseline with a deep, floated backhand. Murray finds the net with what he calls a "terrible" backhand, before spraying a backhand long. Another unforced error from Murray, this time on the forehand side, and he follows up with another on the backhand side - game Kunitsyn.

Murray 6-2 2-1 Kunitsyn*
Sorry, got my stars mixed up... cracking shot from Murray, attacking the net and putting away a whipped cross-court forehand. Comfortable service hold for Murray, he's back in full control.

*Murray 6-2 1-1 Kunitsyn
Let's hope that break has focused the Murray mind, it's all looked rather like a rust-shaking exercise so far for the world number four. Kunitsyn has Murray on the scramble, but spews a forehand wide to make it 15-30. Murray lashes a forehand return well wide, but Kunitsyn produces an error on the forehand to hand Murray a break point. That's the way to do it from Murray, pulling Kunitsyn all over the place before putting away a hammer of a forehand winner down the line.

Murray 6-2 0-1 Kunitsyn*
Kunitsyn challenges on the first point of the second set, and rightly so, that forehand was smack on the line. Murray is wrong-footed at the net by a top-spin forehand straight down the middle, and the Scot loses the next point, whiff-whaffing a forehand wide. Murray with his eighth ace, before Murray stretches like an albatross to put away a backhand volley. But that's a break for the Russian, Murray serving the game up on a silver salver courtesy of a double-fault.
* denotes next to serve

*Murray 6-2 Kunitsyn
Some deep hitting from Kunitsyn and Murray finally buckles, pushing a forehand long. Kunitsyn, though, pulls a backhand wide to make it 15-30, but hits the line with a backhand on the next point to level. Cracking forehand right into the corner while backing away earns Murray set point, and Kunitsyn hands over the keys rather tamely, booming a backhand well long. Odd set...

Murray 5-2 Kunitsyn*
Murray still glued to deep behind the baseline, he's happy to grind his opponent into dust rather than dazzle him with winners from all parts. Kunitsyn mixing things up from miles back as he makes it 15-30, but Murray sends down aces six and seven to hold.

*Murray 4-2 Kunitsyn
Kunitsyn opens up a 30-0 lead off the back of two solid first serves, before Murray plonks a forehand into the net to make it 40-0. Murray frames a forehand, which allows Kunitsyn to close the game out with a forehand down the line.

Murray 4-1 Kunitsyn*
Kunitsyn hooks a forehand wide to make it 40-15, before floating a backhand wide... finally, an easy service game for Murray...

*Murray 3-1 Kunitsyn
A thousand apologies, it is actually 3-0 to Murray, my mind was elsewhere after that previous game. Good scrambling from Kunitsyn from behind the baseline and he makes it 15-15 with a peach of a lob. An odd, pokey little point ends with Kunitsyn prodding a backhand wide, but he wins the next point to avoid the dreaded donut.

Murray 3-0 Kunitsyn*
There have been women's Grand Slam finals that went on for less than that previous game, and, no, that's not an exaggeration. At least Murray can smile about it though. A couple of unforced errors from Murray, before he levels it at 30-30 with a 203kph first serve. Another ace from Murray, before Kunitsyn makes it deuce with a prodded backhand down the line. Sweet from Murray, leaving Kunitsyn rooted with a fizzed cross-court backhand, and he wraps up that game with a clinical volley.

*Murray 2-0 Kunitsyn
No, our auto refresh isn't broken, that was the longest ruddy game of tennis maybe ever. Not a great deal of variety in the Russian's game, it's as if he's on rails behind the baseline. Forehand winner from Murray but he balloons long on the next point. A couple of unforced errors from Kunitsyn, before he outlasts Murray in a marathon rally. Murray happy to stand and trade at the moment and not take too many chances, but he outfoxes Kunitsyn with a deep, sliced backhand, before Kunitsyn puts him away with a top-spin forehand. But Kunitsyn goes long with a forehand... before Murray finds the net with a sliced backhand: a second break point saved... and a third, as Kunitsyn surprises him with a high kicker on second serve. Murray then hooks a forehand wide, before blowing a challenge, but Kunitsyn mishits a forehand long to bring it back to deuce. Another break point for Murray, the fifth, but Kunitsyn outlasts him again, before Murray bends at the waist rather gingerly. Murray in garage door mode at the moment, but no-one wants to win this one, this is the tennis equivalent of a four-minute round in boxing... stunning, low backhand stop-volley from Kunitsyn... but Murray responds with a dainty little forehand drop-volley off his toes. Murray fails to put away a drive forehand volley, but Kunitsyn misses with the lob... another break point gone, Murray again pulled hither and tither at the back of the court. This is bizarre, neither player can string two decent points together... Bellamy's beard it's over, Murray breaking at the ninth time of asking...

Murray 1-0 Kunitsyn*
Lots of chat about 'double-bagels' on our 606 messageboards, but I'm sure after a month out Murray will be happy with any sort of win. Murray finds the net with a volley to lose the opening point, but slips into a groove on the next before Kunitsyn puts a backhand wide. Murray's first ace next up, out wide, but Kunitsyn wins the next courtesy of some penetrating groundstrokes. Break point for Kunitsyn after Murray finds the net with a backhand, but Murray dredges up an ace under pressure. Murray plops a tame forehand into the net for another break point, but after a lengthy exchange Kunitsyn puts a backhand wide. Touch from Murray, catching out Kunitsyn with a sliced drop-shot, but he then finds the net with a backhand... Murray, serving and volleying, finally wins the game.
* denotes next to serve

1703: Scratch that, they're knocking up already, should be under way in 10. Murray is 13-8 to win this title, although he hasn't played in Dubai for two years. Kunitsyn meanwhile is on a four-match losing streak indoors and is world ranked 90.

1700: Afternoon, or whatever it might be wherever you are. Andrew Murray up against Russian qualifier Igor Kunitsyn in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships, so on paper it looks like a soft landing for the British number one in his first game since losing to Roger Federer in the Aussie Open final. Should be under way in 20 minutes or so.

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see also
Murray returns with solid victory
22 Feb 10 |  Tennis
Tennis stars enjoy seven-star luxury
22 Feb 10 |  Scotland
Murray sad at Federer withdrawal
21 Feb 10 |  Scotland
Federer out of Dubai with illness
21 Feb 10 |  Tennis

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Sporting Life ANDY MURRAY THROUGH IN DUBAI - 15 hrs ago Davydenko battles past Serra - 20 hrs ago Murray reaches second round in Dubai - 24 hrs ago Murray overcomes dogged Kunitsyn in Dubai - 24 hrs ago
The Scotsman Rusty Andy Murray polishes off Kunitsyn in straight sets - 34 hrs ago


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