x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Tipsarevic next up for Murray

The Serbian, ranked No 39 in the world, was forced to fight it out on Court One before securing a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 victory over Italian Andreas Seppi.

DUBAI // Janko Tipsarevic will face the No 2 seed Andy Murray in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships after battling to overcome the Italian Andreas Seppi at the Aviation Club yesterday. The Serbian, ranked No 39 in the world, was forced to fight it out on Court One before securing a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 victory and a clash with the world No 4. Murray, who came into this week's tournament playing down his chances of success after admitting he has done little on-court training since his defeat to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, has faced Tipsarevic five times previously, losing twice.

The last time the two players met was at Roland Garros in the third round of the French Open, where the Serb pushed Murray to a tie-break before being forced to retire midway through the second set. Yesterday, in a hard-fought first set that went with serve, Tipsarevic won a love-game in the eighth only to then watch as the world No 45 Seppi immediately levelled with an ace in the ninth. The following game saw Seppi force a break-point, but his opponent saved it on his second serve and then, at advantage, closed out with an ace of his own.

Indeed, it was Tipsarevic's powerful, accurate serving that ultimately secured him the opening set. Having squared the tie with an ace in the 12th to ensure a tie-break, the popular 25-year-old hit three aces and required just one second serve as he claimed the upper hand. However, in the second set, Tipsarevic double-faulted at break-point to fall behind in the seventh game, and at 5-4 Seppi looked like pushing his opponent to a third set for the first time since 2006.

But Tipsarevic rallied to break back in the 10th before forcing deuce in the 12th and, after a series of energetic exchanges, won the vital point to set up a clash with Murray. @Email:gmeenaghan@thenational.ae