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Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Murray v Stakhovsky as it happened

Dubai Championships

First-round result:

A MURRAY (GB) bt S Stakhovsky (Ukr)

6-7 (3-7) 6-3 5-3 (retired)

To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 with the word TENNIS before your message. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Piers Newbery


It's good news for a Briton
1717: A strange finish - Murray wins the first couple of points and Stakhovsky feels he cannot continue, retiring just two points from defeat. All in all, a bit of a worrying afternoon for Murray as the ankle seems to be a problem. Thanks for your company, check the website later for details of the Murray injury. Hopefully, he'll be back in action on Wednesday.

Murray 5-3 Stakhovsky
Somebody in the crowd has screamed like Janet Leigh in Psycho every time there's been a drop shot - and there have been quite a few. Murray plays another winner as he holds easily enough.

Murray 4-3 Stakhovsky
Hmmm. Murray does not look too keen to run for anything unless he absolutely has to, and at one stage grimaces, looks down at his ankle, up at his box and shakes his head. I'm no expert on body language but that can't be good. The trainer is back out, but only to re-apply tape to Stakhovsky's ankle.

A celeb has been spotted

Funnily enough, I've had a dodgy ankle for the last week too. Mine was not helped by slipping over in a pool of champagne on Saturday night. Someone else's champagne, I should point out.

Murray 4-2 Stakhovsky
Murray moves ahead again with his best service game of the match, ace number five sealing it.

Murray 3-2 Stakhovsky
The crowd gets something to enjoy at last, Murray opening with a running cross-court backhand pass before Stakhovsky hits back with a flowing backhand winner down the line. The Ukrainian holds.

1703: "I think murray's problem is he is consistently inconsistent. Against better players his lapses get punished and its harder for him to recover and maybe thats why he has struggled in the majors."
From ryan, in taunton, via text on 81111

Murray 3-1 Stakhovsky
Murray must be enjoying this a lot more, although it's hardly thrilling the locals. There is a magnificent yawn from someone in the VIP box as Murray holds again and Stakhosvky cannot put him under pressure at the moment.

Murray 2-1 Stakhovsky
Solid stuff from Stakhosvky, who holds to 15 thanks to a Hawkeye challenge that confirms a Murray error.

Murray 2-0 Stakhovsky
Ace number four helps Murray to 40-15 and he takes the game when Stakhovsky piles a backhand into the net. Team Murray look on contentedly. Probably looking forward to getting back to Andy's seven-star hotel - which surely makes a mockery of the star rating system.

It's good news for a Briton

Murray 1-0 Stakhovsky
Well, the ankle might be hurting but Murray is still moving smoothly and has not called for the trainer. Stakhovsky has gone right off the boil - despite, or maybe because of, changing into a turquoise t-shirt - and is broken to love.


It's good news for a Briton
It's bad news for a Briton

Murray 6-3 Stakhovsky
Murray earns three set points at 40-0 and then plays two loose backhand slices, pretty much summing up his day so far. The Scot takes the set when Stakhovsky nets but Murray grimaces as he makes his way back to the chair - is it the ankle? I do not know.

Murray 5-3 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky looks unruffled as he holds, Murray leaking a drop shot wide to give up the game. These two will meet again in the Davis Cup next month - not sure John Lloyd will be enjoying watching his start man struggle this much.

Murray 5-2 Stakhovsky
Murray continues to labour a bit but Stakhosvky's cooled off a bit too, for the moment, so the Briton holds without too much difficulty.

1640: "If things are going badly murray has the ability to shift through the gears depending on how deep he needs to dig. It is very rare to see murray unable to find the answer."
From Rob, bored to tears in Bridgend, via text on 81111

Murray 4-2 Stakhovsky
With his man reeling on the ropes, Murray again allows Stakhovsky to retain a foothold in the set as more break points go begging. It's good stuff from the Ukrainian though and he's fighting hard.

Murray 4-1 Stakhovsky
This time Murray converts his break of serve with little fuss. You have to wonder if Stakhovsky has got any more to give. Well, you don't have to....

1631: "Ok Murray is now up 3-1 He has broken Finally we are seeing the real Murray stepping forward."
pmstarliverpool on 606

Murray 3-1 Stakhovsky
Murray fires a winning pass that for once Stakhovsky cannot deal with at the net. The Ukrainian then drifts a backhand long and Murray has three more break points at 0-40. He takes the second and looks in control now. But we thought that earlier.

1629: "Now we will learn a little more about Murrays readiness to be gr8. Nearly man or real Champ? Interesting."
From Andrew, Ayrshire, via text on 81111

Murray 2-1 Stakhovsky
That's a bit more like it from Murray. He makes one thumping forehand winner and holds to 15.

Murray 1-1 Stakhovsky
Murray is twice forced to hare into the net to chase down drop shots, only to see his return float back past him into the open court. He's battling on though and earns a break-back point. Stakhovsky cracks first in a long, cagey rally and the Scot is back in the match.

Murray 0-1 Stakhovsky
A timid backhand and double fault number four have Murray in more trouble, and he really doesn't need Stakhovsky getting an unplayable net cord for 30-40 and break point. Murray goes long with an attempted lob and he's in big trouble now. The racquets are being sent off for re-stringing. That should do it.


It's bad news for a Briton

Murray 6-7 (3-7) Stakhovsky
Murray turns round at 4-2 down after a double fault and he looks very flat at the moment. Stakhovsky doesn't - he powers down a huge serve and then plays a magnificent stop half-volley for 6-3 and three set points. A frustrated Murray obliges with a wayward forehand and Stakhovsky has the set. Settle back... could be a long one.

1607: "I need to sack my informer at the lta (see 1559)."
From anon via text on 81111

Murray 6-6 Stakhovsky
A much better service game from Murray takes him swiftly into the tie-break.

Murray 5-6 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky plays a killer drop shot followed by a fantastic angled volley as he holds serve to 15. Murray must now try and force a tie-break but he really should have wrapped this up having led 3-1 and 15-40 at one stage.

Murray 5-5 Stakhovsky
Murray stops the rot by holding serve, taking it with another fine drop shot that tested Stakhosvky's ankle clearly more than was comfortable.

1559: "The results (see 1547) are all correct except Ward beat Dan Evans by 3 sets to 2."
From asabovesobellow on 606

Murray 4-5 Stakhovsky
He looks understandably wary about putting too much pressure on the ankle but Stakhovsky comes out and finishes off his service game to take the lead.

1549: All is suddenly going very well for Stakhvosky as he powers to 40-15 before he pulls up sharply with an ankle problem. He hobbles to the chair and waits for the trainer, who gets busy with the tape.

1547: "I can help there (see 1537)... James ward beat dan evans 3-1. Chris eaton beat alex slabinsky 3-1. And josh goodall beat colin fleming 3-0."
From anon via text on 81111

- These are not official results as they come via text from a person called anon.

1546: "While you're off getting the Davis Cup results you couldn't get the cricket score could you? Oh and some milk?"
From Dave, London, via text

It's bad news for a Briton

Murray 4-4 Stakhovsky
Murray is cruising along in first gear here and it will probably be enough to win, but if he could step it up just a bit there would be no threat at all. As it is, he slips 0-30 down again and requires two aces to help him to deuce. A battle of the backhand slices follows and Stakhovsky wins it to earn a break point, before thumping a forehand winner to level. Again.

Murray 4-3 Stakhovsky
Murray is stung into action after his last very loose game and gets to 0-40 thanks to one blistering backhand. Stakhovsky saves the first two but cannot control a backhand on the third and Murray moves ahead again.

1536: "Don't suppose you can give us the latest on the Davis Cup playoffs that are going on at Roehampton at the moment can you??"
From Neil, Leeds, via text on 81111

- I'm sorry to say I can't right now but will endeavour to hunt down the info later on and bring it to you. It's a big week for six of Britain's men as they play off for the right to partner Murray in the Davis Cup next week. It's a bit like X Factor, with John Lloyd as Simon Cowell.

Murray 3-3 Stakhovsky
Murray crashes down an ace on the first point and looks to be easing through the game at 30-0, before Stakhovsky plays a decent point that has the Briton scrambling unsuccessfully. Then, from nowhere, Murray makes two double faults in a row and we're all square. Very surprising.

Murray 3-2 Stakhovsky
If there are any Stakhovsky fans out there - and I know there are - your man is hanging on... just. Murray earns another two break points when the Ukrainian nets a backhand volley but wastes them with an overhit return and a backhand error. Stakhovsky wraps it up with a much better volley, which might boost his confidence.

Murray 3-1 Stakhovsky
Stakhovsky keeps the Hawkeye operators honest with a surprise challenge - surprising because it was clearly miles out. Murray holds with ease.

1525: "Gr8 to see Scotland and GB's finest start his next campaign; a cert to be World no. 1 by seasons end."
From anon via text on 81111

It's good news for a Briton

Murray 2-1 Stakhovsky
A beautiful forehand drop shot leaves Stakhovsky absolutely stranded at the baseline and it's three break points for Murray. He goes long with a return on the first but forces an error on the second and it's all going very much to plan.

Murray 1-1 Stakhovsky
A couple of truly rotten forehands see Murray pegged back to 30-30 but Stakhovsky wastes the half-chance by finding the tram lines and Murray holds.

(Credit: Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships)
Murray takes in the Burj Al Arab hotel while on a weekend yachting jaunt

Murray 0-1 Stakhovsky
There is an overrule on the first point and Stakhovsky promptly dumps a volley in the net when the point is replayed. The Ukrainian has a nice single-handed backhand and a decent serve which get him out of trouble, despite one flowing Murray forehand winner.

1509: "I would like to see andy win here as you'd feel this sort of thing bodes well for the future but with IW and miami coming up soon I won't be that cut up about an earlier than anticipated exit."
NapoleonEinstein on 606

1507: They're out knocking up and there's no sign of the ankle problem which troubled Murray slightly on his way to winning Rotterdam two weeks ago. The winner of this one will face either Arnaud Clement or the even older Rainer Schuettler.

1502: Good afternoon, and welcome to the latest stage in Andy Murray's bid for world domination. This week it's Dubai and, with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer absent through injury, the Scot is the second seed behind Novak Djokovic.

First up is Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, the man/boy Murray defeated to win the US Open junior title in 2004 and has since beaten in the 2006 Davis Cup and in Doha earlier this year.

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see also
Murray in lap of luxury
23 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Murray wins US junior crown
12 Sep 04 |  US Open 2004

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