Andy Murray’s injured ankle proved less troublesome than that of opponent Sergiy Stakhovsky, who retired while trailing 6-7 (3), 6-3, 5-3 on Monday in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The fourth-ranked Murray was leading 30-0 on Stakhovsky’s serve in the ninth game of the third set when the Ukrainian retired.
“It was a bit strange with both of us struggling with our ankles toward the end of the match, but he was aggressive, fought very well and hit some unbelievable volleys,” Murray said.
“I played a couple of bad games in the first set and was disappointed with my serve. But I was always having chances on his serves, so I wasn’t really worried,” the Scot said. “But I think I tweaked my ankle about an hour-and-a-half into the match. I have got to see the physio now. The ankle was feeling a lot better during practice, but I was wearing braces then.”
Qualifier Marco Chiudenelli of Switzerland also advanced to the second round, beating seventh-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (7). Chiudenelli is making a third comeback after two career-threatening injuries.
“I cannot call this dream-come-true yet, though beating someone like Karlovic is great,” the 27-year-old Chiudenelli said. “I think I will have to beat a few more players before I can call it a dream come true.”
Fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain defeated Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, and fifth-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia rallied to beat Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 2-6, 7-6, 6-4.
“It was really tough to get back in the match after losing that first set, losing my first two service games,” Cilic said. “It helped that I saved two break points in the first game of the second set and got myself a little bit into the match, and started serving a bit better after that.”
The tournament has been hit hard by withdrawals. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Roger Federer pulled out with injuries, while defending champion Andy Roddick withdrew under protest.
Roddick said he wouldn’t play because he disagreed with the Emirates’ decision to deny Israeli Shahar Peer a visa to play in last week’s women’s tournament. Israeli player Andy Ram was granted a visa for the men’s tournament, however.
AP, ACAPULCO, MEXICO
Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela rallied to beat Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Monday to advance to the second round of the Acapulco Open.
“This is a very important victory, Cuevas is a good player who is coming from the qualifying rounds, he played a great first set but I was able to take him down,” said Chela, who is 162nd on the ATP rankings.
Chela, a winner here in 2001 and 2007, has won only two other titles — in the Netherlands in 2002 and Portugal in 2004.
“I like Mexico very much, people is very nice and I love the surface,” Chela said. “Right now I’m not thinking about a victory, it’s a long road.”
Sixth seeded Alberto Montanes had a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 win over Mexican Bruno Echagaray and will next play fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno Traver, who beat Ecuadorean Nicolas Lapentti, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
In other men’s matches, Brazilian Thomaz Belluci beat Nicolas Devilder of France 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, Leonardo Mayer defeated fellow Argentine Diego Junqueira 7-6, 6-3 and Italy’s Potito Starace eliminated Spain’s Oscar Hernandez 6-4, 6-2.
In women’s matches, fourth-seeded Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic had an easy 6-2, 6-0 win over Ukrainian Olga Savchuk while Czech Klara Zakopalova beat 2006 Acapulco champion Emilie Loit of France, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.