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Murray seeks Rotterdam boost

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:17

The British number one will face Ivan Ljubicic in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The Scot went into the year’s opening grand slam as the form player following his Qatar Open victory but he could not live up to his favourite’s billing and this week’s tournament gives Murray the chance to put that behind him.

He will also hope to gain significant ranking points following his loss in the first round to Dutchman Robin Haase last year.

Indeed, the 21-year-old will view the next few months as an ideal opportunity to put pressure on world number three Novak Djokovic, who, unlike Murray, has considerable points to defend.

The second seed will be wary of his first-round opponent in Rotterdam, however, having lost two of his three previous matches against Ljubicic.

Their last meeting came in the final of the Qatar Open in 2007, where the Croat triumphed in straight sets, while they shared a victory apiece the previous year, but Ljubicic has tumbled down the rankings from his career-high position of number three in May 2006 and is currently only just inside the top 50 at 48.

The 29-year-old’s last ATP Tour title came in 2007 and he struggled with back injuries last year.

Ljubicic pushed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to four sets in the second round of the Australian Open but failed to get past the last 16 in his home event in Zagreb last week, having never previously lost before the final.

Despite his losing record, Murray should be too strong for Ljubicic having improved significantly since their last meeting while the Croat has gone in the other direction.

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