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Andy Murray eases to first round victory in Dubai

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Andy Murray may be coming off a bout of shingles, but he looked in good shape during a 6-4, 6-1 first round victory over Malik Jaziri at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

The top-ranked Murray was playing his first match since being upset by Mischa Zverev in the Australian Open fourth round last month.

Murray said that his mother-in-law was the first to suggest he had shingles, which a doctor confirmed the next day.

“I had a little bit of a rash basically like on my bum `round to kind of my stomach, and it wasn’t, like, terrible,” Murray said. “I didn’t think much of it at the beginning, and then it was actually my wife’s mum, we were having dinner, and I was, like, `This is really irritating. She was, like, `Pull your pants down. Show me. It might be shingles.”

Jaziri took a brief 2-1 lead with a service break in the first set, but that would be the only time the Tunisian had any control over Tuesday’s match.

“Obviously, the second set was obviously a bit easier,” Murray said. “First set, especially the beginning, was tough.

“I have never hit with him or played against him before. It took a little bit of time to get used to his game.”

The only other unexpected moment in the match came when Murray was leading 6-4, 3-1, 0-40. Jaziri said he was feeling light-headed and asked for the physiotherapist to come to the court. After his pulse was checked, Jaziri returned to the court and played out the match.

Unlike Murray, defending champion Stan Wawrinka didn’t survive the first round, falling to Damir Dzhumur 7-6 (4), 6-3.

It was third-ranked Wawrinka’s first match since bowing out of the Australian Open to Swiss countryman Roger Federer in the semifinals.

“I think I start well, but it was tough match,” Wawrinka said. “I think after coming back one month out, I had to recover from the injury.

Wawrinka was nursing a right knee injury when he left the Australian Open and only started to have regular practice sessions a week ago.

“The positive of the tournament here is that the knee is feeling good now,” Wawrinka said. “I don’t have any pain. I need to still be really careful, but that was the only positive of today.”

Wawrinka started the match very quickly, racing to a 4-1 lead in the first set.

“Three games in, like, six, seven minutes, he was playing outstanding there,” Dzhumur said. “Was just hitting every ball. I couldn’t even touch the ball.”

That was the point when Wawrinka slowed down and showed signs of becoming tentative as the Bosnian settled into the match.

“I was hoping that he’s gonna go down with his level of game, and that’s what happened,” Dzhumur said. “I started to fight, to grind, and I found some way to play, to stay in the game.”

Dzhumur raced into a 5-1 lead in the second set, but became nervous when serving for the match at that point.

In the 10-point seventh game, Dzhumur served three double faults, including to lose the third break point he faced.

He kept his composure when serving for the match two games later, setting up the match point with a forehand crosscourt volley, and then watching Wawrinka sail a forehand long.

Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych advanced to the second round when fellow Czech qualifier Lukas Rosol retired with a knee injury. Berdych was leading 6-3, 2-1 at the time.

Nishikori saves three match points in Geneva Open QF win

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GENEVA — Kei Nishikori saved three straight match points in the deciding set before outlasting Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the Geneva Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

The second-seeded Nishikori was serving at 4-5, 0-40 before rallying to beat the 62nd-ranked South African, who fired 14 aces without allowing any by his opponent.

Nishikori also trailed in the tiebreaker before creating a second match-point chance with a forehand crosscourt service return for a winner. He clinched with a forehand winner off a looping net-cord ball.

The No. 9-ranked Japanese player will face 33rd-ranked Mischa Zverev of Germany in the semifinals on Friday.

The Russian-born Zverev, who came through qualifying, beat fifth-seeded Steve Johnson of the United States 6-4, 7-5.

Madison Keys aiming to kick start her season at French Open

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PARIS (AP) After a disappointing start to 2017, Madison Keys is ready to kick start her season when the French Open begins on Sunday.

Keys missed the first two months of the year after undergoing surgery on her left wrist in the offseason.

“I’m fully recovered and happy to be back on the tour,” Keys said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Obviously, I haven’t had the perfect start to the season, but really I’m just happy to be back on the court and be pain free.

“I’m very excited to play in Roland Garros. I feel like every year I love it a little bit more and it’s such a beautiful city to play in, so I’m very excited for the start.”

In her first tournament back, Keys reached the third round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in March. But since then, the American has made first round exits in Charleston, Madrid and Rome – where she reached the final last year.

However, Keys hasn’t gone out in the opening round of a Grand Slam since losing to Sara Errani at Roland Garros in 2014.

“I’m really just trying to have some good matches and looking at it that way and you know that’s all I’m really concerned about,” she said.

Long considered one of the world’s most promising young players, the 22-year-old Keys burst through to the semifinals of the 2015 Australian Open while still a teenager and went on to make the quarterfinals at Wimbledon that year.

The upward trajectory continued last season, with Keys reaching the Olympic semifinals as well as making three finals and winning her second WTA title.

Moreover, Keys became the first American woman to be ranked in the top 10 since Serena Williams in 1999.

That success had Keys targeting the top five and a Grand Slam. But following her injuries, the No. 13 is now taking it one match at a time.

“I’m really just trying to kind of get my match rhythm back and feel more comfortable on the tennis court, so right now that’s kind of my main goal and focus,” Keys said.

Keys was reunited with former coach Lindsay Davenport in the offseason and also recently added Maria Sharapova’s former hitting partner, Dieter Kindlmann, to her team.

“It’s going well,” Keys said. “Lindsey and I have been working together for a couple of months now and I think the addition of Didi is really going well.”