Barclays Dubai Championships gallery, Day 1
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:27
With Andy Ram-gate thankfully resolved, the main business in Dubai (the tennis) finally got under way at the Aviation Club on Monday.
Read the snapper’s Dubai blog
The quality of the 32-man draw was immediately evident as the second, fourth and fifth seeds struggled to book their places in the second round on day one of the ATP World Tour 500 event.
After the withdrawals of a bunch of big names from the $2.2 million jamboree, second-seeded Andy Murray is many peoples favourite for the title but he looked far from convincing during his opening match of the week against Ukraine No.1 Sergiy Stakhovsky.
The Scottish world No.4 led by a break twice in the first set only to let the opener slip away after a sloppy tie-break.
The Briton dropped serve in the first game of the second set too before finally bursting into life.
From there it was pretty much one-way traffic although Murray didnt get the opportunity to finish off the match after his opponent called it a day with an ankle injury with Murray up 5-3 in the third.
Surely Stakhovsky could have done the decent thing and hobbled through another four points
Earlier on, it was in-form Croat Marin Cilic, the No.5 seed, who was pushed to three sets before hitting back to get past Serb Jankko Tipsarevic 2-6, 7-6, 6-4. The three-set victory improves the Zagreb giants 2009 win-loss record to 14-1.
And next it was the turn of fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer to fight for his life before eventually outlasting another Croat Ivan Ljubicic 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Where Tipsarevic and Ljubicic failed, Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli succeeded in finishing the job as he put out seventh seed Ivo Karlovic in three sets 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.
In the last match on the main show court Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, a Dubai champion back in 2002, came through his first outing against Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-4, 6-2 to book a second round meeting with Chiudinelli.
Top seed Novak Djokovic, third seed Gilles Simon and eighth seed Marat Safin against Frenchman Richard Gasquet all feature on the Centre Court order of play sheet on day two.
Come back for more from the Gulf on Tuesday…