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Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Murray crushes Clement in Dubai

Andy Murray
Murray shrugged off his ankle injury to beat Clement for the first time

British number one Andy Murray stormed into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Championships with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Arnaud Clement of France.

Clement was broken at 2-1 and 4-2 as Murray dominated the world number 73 and easily served out the first set.

Unable to contain Murray's huge serves and blistering groundstrokes, Clement crumbled and two more breaks of serve helped the Scot seal the win.

Murray will play Richard Gasquet, who beat Simone Bolelli, in the last eight.

Gasquet holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Murray but their last meeting, at Wimbledon last summer, went the way of Murray in five sets.

The Frenchman is, however, likely to provide considerably tougher opposition than his compatriot Clement.

It was the third meeting between Murray and Clement, the 31-year-old having won both previous matches although their last meeting was in 2006.

Murray feels he's playing better

Murray has since climbed to number four in the world while Clement's career has gone in the opposite direction - ranked in the top 10 in 2001, he is now down to 73.

There was little evidence of the ankle injury that forced Murray to pull out of the Open 13 in Marseille last week and affected him in his first-round win over Sergiy Stakhovsky on Monday.

He started at a high tempo and set up two break points in game one, only for the Clement to save both before holding serve.

Clement engineered a break point in on Murray's first service game, but he overcooked a backhand and the Scot levelled.

Murray, who broke his opponent in the following game, had to save another two break points in game six as Clement enjoyed success from both the baseline and at the net.

But those were rare flurries from the Frenchman and when number two seed Murray moved into a 5-2 lead with a second break he comfortably served out the opening set.

Murray, bidding for his third ATP Tour title this season, was serving particularly well and his seventh ace brought up two set points, of which he needed only one.

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Clement started the second set in determined fashion but Murray never looked in danger on his own serve and a break at 1-1 saw him edge ahead.

Instead of counteracting the increased pressure Murray was applying, Clement's error count began to soar and a superb backhand drop shot gave the Scot a 3-1 lead.

Clement saved two more break points in the fifth game but it would be a brief reprieve as Murray brought up match point on his opponent's serve at 3-5.

The Frenchman saved with an ace but a searing forehand return brought up a second and another forehand winner saw Murray complete his triumph.

Murray was delighted with his performance, telling BBC Sport: "I played really well, much better than in the first round. I felt like I was more adjusted to the conditions and the result would suggest that.

"I served very well and when I gave him opportunities I came up with a few big serves at important moments."

Murray is coping with an ankle injury and added: "It changes every day. Some days it hurts round the joint, on some at the front and on some at the back. I am taking it each day at a time and making sure I get the right physio treatment."

His quarter-final against Gasquet is the last match on Centre Court on Thursday and he added: "We have had some very good matches in the past and I am hoping this will be another good one.

"The Wimbledon match last year was one of the most exciting of my career."

Top seed Novak Djokovic had to fight hard to beat Jan Hernych of Czech Republic 6-3 3-6 6-4 while third seed Gilles Simon beat Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-1 6-2.

David Ferrer, seeded four, earned a 6-4 6-2 win against Philipp Kohlschreiber and fifth seed Marin Cilic got the better of Julien Benneteau, winning 6-3 4-6 7-5.

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see also
Murray v Clement as it happened
25 Feb 09 |  Tennis
Djokovic eases through in Dubai
24 Feb 09 |  Tennis


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