Red-hot Murray puts GB in reach of Hopman final
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:52
“My back is on fire,” admitted Andy Murray in the wake of Great Britain’s Hopman Cup Group B victory over Germany.
The world No.4 is paying the price for an ill-advised topless training session under the Aussie summer sun. “I got so burnt,” he confessed. “The sun is a lot stronger here than it was in Miami.”
Fortunately, the Scot’s game is also hotting up nicely ahead of the Australian Open as a 6-4 6-1 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber set Murray and Laura Robson up for a comeback 2-1 victory and put them within touching distance of Saturday’s final.
The British duo will face Russia in their final round robin match, with Elena Dementieva and Igor Andreev requiring a clean sweep against Khazakstan to stay in with a chance of topping the group.
Murray may have guided the team to victory, but it was the performance of Laura Robson that caught the eye.
The 15-year-old found herself serving for the first set at 5-4 against world No.22 Sabine Lisicki before the German fought back to steal a 7-6(5) 6-3 win.
But far from let the disappointment of seeing another promising position slip from her grasp after losing in three sets to Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova in her first singles match, Robson bounced back to join Murray and seal the decisive mixed doubles rubber 6-3 6-2.
“I played much better today, but there is still a lot to work on for the future,” said Robson, who joked about ‘carrying’ Murray through the deciding rubber.
“Being 15 is not an excuse. I had some chances serving for the first set, but she played better in the end.”
Despite the disappointment, Robson took the positives from the experience she is gaining alongside the likes of world No.4 Murray. On Friday she faces Olympic champion Elena Dementieva who, at No.5 in the world, will be the highest-ranked opponent of her fledgling career.
“It’s been a good week so far,” added Robson, whose Australian roots have boosted her popularity in Perth. “On Friday I’ll get to play Dementieva – it will be a good experience.”
In contrast, Murray’s decision to head to Australia early rather than defend his Qatar Open title in Doha means that he will avoid playing the big guns ahead of the Australian Open – unless he is granted a spot among the eight-man field for the Kooyong exhibition event next week.
In the meantime, the slightly scorched 22-year-old has made light work of his opponents this week so far, polishing off Kohlschreiber in an hour.
“I was happy to have gotten it done quickly,” said Murray, who posted 17 aces and broke four times from six opportunities against the world No.27.
“I served well and didn’t give him many chances, and I was able to capitalise on his second serve. And I played pretty well at the net today,” added the Scot, who has focused on his upcourt game in the off-season.
Understandably, Kohlschreiber was less enthused about the result. “He kicked my ass today pretty badly,” was the German’s assessment. “Murray played fantastic, I couldn’t hold the level with him.
“I’m not quite happy with my game,” added the 26-year-old. “I’m looking for the right shot selection. I need to work bit harder in coming days and hopefully get in good form for Melbourne.”