Dubai tennis: Rising Italian star Jannik Sinner too strong for veteran Andy Murray

It was Sinner's young legs that made the difference against the ageing Murray who has been struggling to find his best form since returning from a second hip surgery



Jannik Sinner of Italy plays a return to Andy Murray of Britain during their ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships round of 32 match on Wednesday. (AFP)
Jannik Sinner of Italy plays a return to Andy Murray of Britain during their ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships round of 32 match on Wednesday. (AFP)
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 4:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 5:08 PM

Rising Italian star Jannik Sinner was too strong for Andy Murray as the fourth seed dismantled the British veteran in straight sets 7-5 6-2 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

Murray, 34, struggled to cope with the 20-year-old Sinner’s relentless aggression from the baseline on the Centre Court as his Dubai campaign ended with a tame defeat.

The three-time Grand Slam winner did put up a fight in the first set and showed great fighting spirit in the fifth game, saving two break points.

But Sinner earned the decisive break of serve in the 11th game, breaking Murray at love before clinching the set in 57 minutes.

Both players came into the second round contest after engrossing three-set battles in the previous round.

But it was Sinner’s young legs that made the difference against the ageing Murray who has been struggling to find his best form since returning from a second hip surgery.

The Italian tormented the 2017 Dubai champion with delicate drop shots and completely dominated the second set as Murray ran out of gas.

“I lost the last match against him (Stockholm, 2021), so I tried to stay focused on my game. I think I played well, especially in the first set in difficult moments. So I am very happy,” said Sinner.

Sinner was not even born when Murray won the Orange Bowl, the most prestigious tournament for junior players at international level, at Florida in 1999.

And the Italian who won a junior skiing national championship before leaving winter sports for tennis, said it was a great honour to share the court with Murray.

“It’s a special feeling, he is a legend, winning three Grand Slams, and many, many tournaments. But unfortunately, he has had tough moments with surgeries. His fighting spirit is still incredible. I wish him best of luck,” the Italian said.

Meanwhile, fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland beat Alex Molcan of Slovakia 6-3 6-2 in the other early second round clash on Wednesday.


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