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Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Murray v Clement as it happened

Dubai Championships

Second round result:

A MURRAY (GB) v A Clement (Fra) *

6-2 6-3

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By David Ornstein

Murray looked a touch off-colour in Rotterdam last week but there can be no doubt about his form in Dubai. Next up is Richard Gasquet of France and memories will come flooding back of their last meeting, at Wimbledon last summer, when Murray emerged triumphant in five gruelling sets.

The players are expected on court at about 1700 GMT and you can follow proceedings here.

"Gasquet will take one look over the net, burst into tears and run away."
King of Hi-Vis on 606

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It's good news for a Briton
Murray 6-2 6-3 Clement
Things start positively for Clement as he opens up with an ace and keeps his nose ahead in the game with a Federer-esque inside out forehand. But Murray has power like few other men on the tour these days and batters his way to match point. Clement saves with a wide ace but an outrageous crosscourt forehand winner by Murray brings up a second match point. That forehand comes out to play again and Clement has no answer. Game, set and match Murray. Emphatic.

Murray 6-2 5-3 Clement
That was all too easy. Murray's booming serve, allied to his raking groundstrokes, leave Clement chasing shadows. Murray evidently wants to wrap up the win as quickly as possible but he is refusing to compromise the quality of his play. A break now and it's game over.

"I must admit I'd have preferred Andy to have sat out this tournament and let his ankle recover in time for the bigger tournaments that lie ahead"
CaledonianCraig on 606

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Murray 6-2 4-3 Clement
The cries of "allez Clement" have died down but the gallant Frenchman battles on. The vast majority of his points continue to come from Murray errors, though, and he remains just about in touch when Murray goes long. Clement has been out of the world's top ten for a considerable time now and it is difficult to see him breaking back in on this evidence.

Murray 6-2 4-2 Clement
This boy is more than a bit special. Despite clearly carrying an ankle injury, Murray's irrepressible form continues and he sails to within two games of the match. Clement is only getting a look in when Murray drops his standards and that is not often.

"Hopefully Murray shakes off the injury because there's now a clear gap between him and the rest of the top 10 beneath him!"
Anon via text on 81111

Murray 6-2 3-2 Clement
When Murray gets his game together and is fully concentrated, Clement simply has no answer. You get the feeling Murray has the ability to turn the screw almost at will. The British number one moves to break point on his opponent's serve but Clement clings on for dear life and Murray goes long via a net cord to hand over the game. This seems, however, a matter of when, rather than if, Murray is going to wrap up victory.

A celeb has been spotted
Murray 6-2 3-1 Clement
There's an increasing sense from Clement's body language that the 31-year-old doesn't have it in him to turn this one around. And you can hardly blame him when in the middle of a tense baseline rally, Murray throws in the most delicious backhand slice to take the game. Shot of the match in my opinion. That was sumptuous. Clement is being put to the sword now.

It's good news for a Briton
Murray 6-2 2-1 Clement
Clement nets to give Murray the early initiative but his confidence is undimmed and he makes Murray chase left and then right, left and then right... before levelling at 15-15 with a forehand that scrapes the line. Murray ups the ante and brings up break point. But that ankle looks to be troubling him and he lets Clement back in. The Frenchman can't, however, serve out the game and goes long to give Murray another break point. This time Murray makes no mistake - hanging on in a marathon rally before Clement nets.

Murray 6-2 1-1 Clement
A classy start from Clement, who opens up a 0-30 lead on the Murray serve. He works the Scot from side to side with thumping groundstrokes, the last of which Murray can only get his frame to. "Allez Clement," chant a scattering of French speakers. Murray turns to that serve and it gets him out of trouble yet again. When Clement nets, we're back on level terms.

A celeb has been spotted
Murray 6-2 0-1 Clement
Cool, calm and collected, Clement storms through that game with consummate ease. A lovely start from the 31-year-old from Aix-en-Provence.

"Murray's injury... if it's properly suspect, he should quit, rest and get it sorted. He shouldn't risk his long term. So why does he continue? Mmm"
Phil in Leeds via text on 81111


It's good news for a Briton
Murray 6-2 Clement
Not for the first time, Clement makes the early running by taking the opening point. But Murray is playing with such confidence that coming from a point or two down is seen as a greater challenge, one that he relishes. He brings out the booming serve once more and a seventh ace brings up set point. Clement nets and Murray is now a set away from a match against Richard Gasquet.

"Random stat: between August and February (so, including US and Aus opens) Murray is no1 in the world with Fed 2 and Rafa 3"
Anon via text on 81111

It's good news for a Briton
Murray 5-2 Clement
The first set is now within touching distance for Murray. A combination of unforced errors by Clement and impressive strokemaking from Murray give the British number one two break points. Murray looks to turn the screw by coming to the net but he is passed, Clement clipping the line with a two-handed backhand. But the Frenchman nets tamely and Murray will now serve for the set.

Murray 4-2 Clement
Both players let loose with some eye-catching tennis. They exchange fantastic points before Murray nets a backhand to give Clement break point. Murray saves with an ace but then Clement engineers another break point. Murray's response? Another ace. Two more big serves help him take the game. That serve has improved so much in recent times and it is saving him match after match at the most crucial moments. Hats off to you, Mr Murray.

"This looks like being yet another breeze for Scotland's No1"
AJ fae Fife on 606

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Murray 3-2 Clement
Worryingly for Clement, he is rarely picking up points by actually winning them himself. A couple of Murray errors put him on course for the game and he comes through when Murray nets. Still, a game is a game and he's still very much in the first set.

"Murray has learnt from his wrist injury how to protect himself. He'll look after his ankle and win this match."
Larry-the-lamb on 606
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Murray 3-1 Clement
Murray loses the opening point but levels when he gets the better of his French opponent in a battle of the drop shots. Clement loves getting into rallies and goes 15-30 up on the Murray serve. But Murray turns on the afterburners and fights his way through with no shortage of power and guile.

* Clement has taken off his sunglasses. My colleague Pete tell me it's because the high levels of humidity mean the 31-year-old needs to towel his face down non stop, Rusedski-style, and having to remove his sunnies each time would get annoying.

It's good news for a Briton
Murray 2-1 Clement
We have a break of serve, ladies and gentlemen. And it's gone to the British number one. It was set up by a trademark crosscourt backhand winner and sealed - to love - when Clement double faulted. Clement needs to cut out the errors and show a little more variety or this could be over quickly.

"Murray looks to be struggling with his ankle still. He's a bit "hobbly". I'm not convinced he'll see the match out."
MarcusInKensington on 606
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Murray 1-1 Clement
The fearless Clement is more than happy to take Murray on from either the baseline or at the net. He passes the Scot to gain 0-15 but then a Murray ace followed by an exquisite lob turn the game around. Murray passes Clement but goes long the following point. At 40-30, Murray sends down his second ace but he has difficulty shaking off a stubborn Clement.

The Frenchman displays an array of attractive groundstrokes from the baseline and forces two Murray errors to bring up break point. But he fires long and nets to put Murray on top and the young man from Dunblane levels at 1-1 when Clement again goes long.

Murray 0-1 Clement
Murray starts positively by earning himself the first point but Clement, at just 5ft 8ins, looks sharp around the court and takes himself to game point.

Murray is clearly feeling his ankle but battles back to earn break point. An impressive serve-smash combo from Clement takes us back to deuce and Murray goes wide and then nets to wrap up the opening game.

Some locals break into a chant of, "Let's go Andy, let's go".

"I back Muzza to beat Clement today, but to come unstuck against Gasquet tomorrow. The ankle still seems troublesome."
Steve in Grimsby via text on 81111

1619: Both players return to their seats before the off. I owe Clement an apology. His sunglasses are medically prescribed and he literally has to wear them. Sorry, Arnaud.

Arnaud to serve.

"Any news on that dodgy ankle, 'Orny? That's the only way Andy's going to lose this one."
Matt in Aberdeen via text on 81111.

1617: "If Murray loses I'll eat Clement's bandana!"
Anon via text on 81111

Sounds sweaty and horrible to me.

1615: The players are out on the court knocking up. Clement is wearing sunglasses (yes, in the evening?!?) and a yellow bandana, Murray a royal blue top and white shorts.

"A real chance for andy to make further progress this week, and keep the pressure on Djokovic for the world number three spot"
luckythebrave on 606
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1612: If you haven't heard by now, Murray is carrying an ankle injury. The 21-year-old has been grimacing with pain on court for a good couple of weeks now but he soldiers on and made it past Sergiy Stakhovsky in round one on Monday.

Murray was leading 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 5-3 when Stakhovsky retired hurt. Clement beat Germany's Rainer Schuettler 1-6 6-3 6-3 to book his place in round two.

"I'm feeling hungry today Mr Murray. I'll take two bagels, and make it snappy."
iceklan10 on 606
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1610: Murray and Clement have met twice previously and, before you think the British number one should walk this one, Clement holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over the Scot.

The 31-year-old's victories came at the 2005 US Open and in Washington a year later. Both results were, of course, on hard courts. Much like the surface at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre in Dubai, I might add.

"On paper it could be a tricky match, but it's being played on a hard court and not paper. I'm predicting a double bagel today for the 'Pride of Britain'."
MarcusInKensington on 606
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1607: The winner of this match will play Richard Gasquet, who has just left court after overcoming Italy's Simone Bolelli in three sets of outstanding tennis.

It was something of a marathon, going to a deciding tie-break and pushing Murray's match back by over an hour, but Gasquet showed more than a few touches of his undoubted class to come through against a hugely improved Bolelli.

Murray and Clement should be out in not too long at all.

"I smell an upset"
SingleBackHand on 606
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1603: The Champions League may be back in full swing, England are putting the final touches to their preparations for the fourth Test against West Indies and the Six Nations returns this weekend.

But what about Andy Murray's bid in the Dubai Championships, I hear you ask...

Whether or not this is the top priority of your sporting week, welcome to our coverage of Murray's second-round meeting with wily Frenchman Arnaud Clement - it could just be a belter.

Join the debate on 606 or text TENNIS and your comment to 81111

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

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