Following a premature end to his run in Rotterdam, Andy Murray returned to professional competition with a straight sets victory over a tough opponent. The British No. 1 will next face Portugal’s Joao Sousa, whom he has encountered on four previous occasions. The British No. 1 leads the head-to-head series 4-0.
Seeded third at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Murray opened his campaign against surging competitor Gilles Muller, whom he defeated 6-5, 7-5 in a close, competitive battle. The former finalist at the event withstood 11 aces from Muller, hit 80% of his first service points, and saved 3 of 4 break points to find his way into the following round.
“I think the end of both sets I didn’t serve so well,” said Murray. “But apart from that, I didn’t give him any opportunities really. I feel like I got a little bit unlucky at the end of the second set. He got a couple of net cords in that last game, the 5-4 game where I got broken, and did very well to respond straightaway and get the break right back. I thought I played a fairly high quality match.”
Murray’s next opponent will be Joao Sousa, who defeated Ireland’s James McGee 6-1, 6-2 to reach the second round. Sousa won 66% of his first service points and converted five aces against the wildcard to close out the match in 64 minutes. He will now look to overturn his record against the Scot on Wednesday afternoon in Dubai.
This marks the fifth time that Murray and Sousa will meet on the professional tour. Murray leads the head-to-head series 4-0, which include a recent win at the Australian Open, as well as two straight sets victories in 2014. All of those wins took place on hard courts, which only adds to the expectation that the Briton will ease into the next round of the tournament.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Straight Sets