170103-murray
Getty Images

World No. 1 Murray wins his opening match of 2017 in Doha

Leave a comment

DOHA, Qatar (AP) Top-ranked Andy Murray extended his winning streak to a career-best 25 matches by defeating Jeremy Chardy of France 6-0, 7-6 (2) in his first match of the year at the Qatar Open on Tuesday.

Murray clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking in his last match of 2016, winning a career-best ninth title by holding off long-time No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the ATP Finals championship match.

Murray, who won back-to-back Doha titles in 2008 and 2009, was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd when he took to the court.

One fan held up a handwritten sign, “Welcome to Doha Sir Andy,” referencing his recently being knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

Murray won the opening set by posting only one unforced error and seven winners. In all, Murray had nine unforced errors and 18 winners.

The 69th-ranked Chardy settled into the second set, even managing to break Murray’s serve in the first game.

But from 2-2 in the second set tiebreaker, Murray reeled off five straight points to finish off the match.

Murray, who has beaten Chardy in nine of the 10 matches they have played, will face Gerald Melzer of Austria in the next round.

Fifth seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, playing in Doha for the first time since he won the title in 2012, ousted Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

The win booked Tsonga a second-round outing against Dustin Brown of Germany.

Murray recalls shingles struggle after Australian Open exit

170226-murray
Getty Images
Leave a comment

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Top-seeded Andy Murray said Sunday he is back to his best ahead of the Dubai Tennis Championships after recounting his struggles with shingles following his early exit from the Australian Open last month.

Shingles is a common, painful skin rash.

“I was a bit sick for 10 days, a couple of weeks, after I got back from Australia,” said Murray, who will play Malek Jaziri of Tunisia in the first round in Dubai. “I feel fresh and ready to go here.

“I had shingles,” he added. “It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. I had to go easy for a little while, so I wasn’t able to push that hard in training when I got back into it. But I’m fine now and have been training flat out the last two weeks.”

Murray said he’s not sure if the illness had already started developing while he was playing in the Australian Open.

The British top-ranked player was upset in a four-set, fourth-round encounter with Mischa Zverev at the first major of the year.

“I didn’t play particularly well at the Australian Open,” Murray said. “I started to play a bit better as it went on, but not as well as I would’ve liked.”

This marks Murray’s sixth career appearance at the Dubai tournament. His best result was reaching the 2012 final where he lost to Roger Federer.

Tsonga wins all-French final at Open 13

170226-tsonga
Getty Images
Leave a comment

MARSEILLE, France (AP) Second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won a second title in as many weeks by defeating fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Open 13 on Sunday.

The 11th-ranked Tsonga put on a nearly flawless performance on his serve to win his 14th career title at the indoor event. Tsonga hit seven aces, dropped only three points on his first serve and did not face a single break point.

The former Australian Open runner-up broke once in each set and added a third Marseille trophy to his collection after victories in 2009 and 2013.

Tsonga, who defeated defending champion Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals, captured the Rotterdam title last week to end a two-year trophy drought.