Murray exploits Federer forehand for Dubai upset win

March 4th, 2008 - 3:24 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, March 4 (DPA) Andy Murray stayed calm as he engineered an upset, handing Roger Federer a first-round defeat with a 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-4 win Monday at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. The Swiss world no.1 last lost this early against Dominik Hrbaty in Cincinnati three-and-a-half years ago.

The defeat opens the door for 2006 winner Rafael Nadal, who would pull to within 100 ranking points of Federer were he to win the title Saturday, according to ATP calculations.

Federer, four times a Dubai champion and the 2006 runner-up, blamed a forehand that went missing for his shoddy performance.

“It wasn’t a bad match,” said the composed top seed. “That’s the only positive thing. I could have played much better tennis. You have to give credit to the guy who beat you, I played some awful forehands.

“Many times that had something to do with being rusty. Usually I come through those matches - but not tonight. You are not gonna beat him without a forehand.”

Murray, who now owns a 2-1 lead in their career series after beating the Swiss in the Cincinnati second round in 2006, fired ten aces and refused to get flustered in the one-hour, 55-minute shocker.

“My performance was pretty special,” said the unseeded Briton, ranked 11th. “I really held up in pressure situations.

“If you can play like that against Roger Federer and serve so well that he never had a break point, that is something special.

“It was important not to rush my decisions. I stayed calm the whole match,” he said.

Federer won the last of his Dubai titles a year ago but came in after losing in the Australian Open semi-finals to third-seed Nobvak Djokovic.

The Swiss squeezed out the first set in a tiebreaker but was unable to maintain the pressure in the face of his collapsing forehand.

Murray broke for 4-2 on the way to earning the second set and took a 3-2 lead in the third as Federer returned wide.

The frustrated Swiss was unable to perform a miracle as he lost for only the third times in 28 Dubai matches.

“I can’t try herder, I always give my best,” he said. “You can’t give better than better.

“I’ll try to train harder, this gives extra time. Of course I wish it was matches instead of practise. I don’t care about defending points, I defend finals and wins all the time.

“I’ll try and get back on the winning route.”

Federer’s next tournament is the Indian Wells Masters from March 15. Five days before that, he faces Pete Sampras in an exhibition match in New York.

Spain’s fourth seed David Ferrer won his opening match over German Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-0 while number five Nikolay Davydenko dispatched Mohammed Ghareeb of Kuwait 6-4, 6-0.

Gifted shot-maker Fabrice Santoro beat 2007 finalist Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4 while Czech qualifier Jan Hernych brought an abrupt end to the run of Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-4, 6-4.

Among the winning arsenal of the 35-year-old Santoro, dubbed ‘the Magician’, was a between-the-legs winner and a shot made from behind his back.

“If I can see the ball, I have a chance to hit it,” said the veteran Frenchman, first-ever titleholder at the event in 1992 and a runner-up one year later.

Santoro is keeping his options open about continuing past this season. “Some of my opponents are five, 10 or 15 years younger,” he said. “I will have to see how it all goes.”

Youzhny was playing in Dubai for the seventh time, losing the final a year ago to Federer.

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