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Murray beats Shapovalov in Dubai to secure second victory of 2024

Andy Murray came back from a set down to defeat Denis Shapovalov in round one of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Murray, refusing to be written off, recorded just his second win in 2024, beating Shapovalov 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

Murray had made an assured start to the match, not allowing the Canadian to win a point in the first game.

Denis Shapovalov of Canada returns the ball to Andy Murray of Great Britain during a match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Image: Denis Shapovalov returns the ball to Andy Murray during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

The Scotsman was looking strong on his serve right up until the ninth game. Then Murray could only smile in exasperation after putting the ball out to give Shapovalov two break points.

With Murray out of position, Shapovalov had a great opportunity to convert the first of them but he pulled it wide.

However, he took the second when Murray, after a long rally, hit a backhand out a fraction too long.

It was a key breakthrough for Shapovalov in such a tight contest. Staying by the net he tapped the ball over, well beyond Murray, to close out his next service game and win the first set.

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Murray gave away the first point of the second set when he scooped a backhand into the net, but then reeled off four consecutive points, while making three correct challenges.

He got to his first break point of the match when he took the next game to advantage. But the Canadian defended that and blazed serves down to deny Murray further opportunity.

Murray had to fend off break points himself in the next as Shapovalov put him under pressure. At one moment he pirouetted on the spot to prod the ball over the net but still lost the point.

Murray came through though to hold serve and a double fault from Shapovalov brought the fourth game of the second set to deuce. With Murray on advantage, a second double fault gave that game and the break to Murray.

The Briton though let Shapovalov into the next game and voiced his anger as a break of serve immediately went Shapovalov’s way.

Andy Murray of Great Britain returns the ball to Denis Shapovalov of Canada during a match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Image: Murray secured his second win of the year so far in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Despite Murray’s efforts to fire back, Shapolov levelled the set to keep up his momentum.

Murray slung excellent shots down the court but Shapolov relentlessly chased down returns.

Murray held his nerve though and held his serve. He took the second set into a tiebreak and pocketed the first mini-break.

He would not be denied, winning that tie-break 7-5 to claim the second set and keep himself in the match.

Murray pushed himself at the start of the third set, breaking Shapovalov’s serve in the first game. He maintained that lead in the deciding set.

Shapovalov’s play became increasingly erratic, spraying wild shots out of bounds although Murray occasionally clasped his lower back seemingly in discomfort.

The Canadian became frustrated after Murray made another significant hold of serve, banging the floor then later his own head with his racket.

He sent a brilliant backhand return past Shapovalov to get to match point and then sealed the victory.

How to watch tennis on Sky Sports

Sky Sports has confirmed a new home for tennis in the UK and Ireland, with Sky Sports Tennis on Sky and NOW, making tennis content available all day, every day for fans.

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Sky Sports will broadcast more live tennis than anywhere else, bringing over 4,000 matches from more than 80 tournaments a year on the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as full coverage of the US Open, all exclusively live.

Non-Sky subscribers can stream live matches with a NOW Sports Day and Month Membership, via Sky Sports Tennis, Sky Sports Arena, and Sky Sports Mix channels.

For further access, fans will also be able to follow their favourite players and gain deeper insights from both Tours via Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on SkySports.com and via Sky Sports social channels.

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Find out all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours.

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