x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Andy Murray fancies his chances against Tomas Berdych in Dubai

The duo, who meet in the quarter-finals on Thursday, have had many an exciting tussle in the past.

Andy Murray is prepared for his quarter-final match on Thursday.
Andy Murray is prepared for his quarter-final match on Thursday.

DUBAI // Among the enticements of the quarter-final between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych on Thursday, their head-to-head past fairly shouts.

It shows that ever since the 17-year-old Murray won in Basel in 2005, Berdych has swept three meetings that include the 2010 French Open fourth round. It also shows that their taut tussle three months ago in Paris hinged on small matters.

Berdych's 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 win saw the Czech win 122 points, the Scot 119.

"A really, really good match," Murray said.

A three-hour, three-set match "doesn't happen every time, you know," Berdych said.

Logic might hint that the slow clay of Roland Garros, where Berdych has four first-round losses in eight tries, might have hindered the big hitter, but it went straight sets plus annoying rain delays.

"Some guys that hit a big ball like time," Murray said, describing "incredibly slow" clay that day, "and that suited him maybe better than it would have done for me".

When the No 4 Murray efficiently beat the 185th-ranked Swiss Marco Chiudinelli yesterday while the No 7 Berdych routed 76th-ranked Slovakian Lukas Lacko, they arranged a meeting of two players with four grand slam final showings (three for Murray), on the kind of far-faster surface Berdych openly relishes.

Yet Murray said: "If you can hit the ball well against him on a court like this, I think he can make mistakes. I think he does like time on the ball. But also, if he's serving huge and, you know, getting the first hit in the rallies, then it's very difficult to play him."