By Jake Davies

  • Andy Murray [1] defeats Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (20-18) 6-1
  • Murray advances to the Dubai semi-finals to play Lucas Pouille [7]



Andy Murray [1] defeats Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (20-18) 6-1

Dubai top seed and World No. 1,  Andy Murray survived the most serious of examinations against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber before coming out with the victory in three sets and three hours of high-octane tennis.

The Brit, who is playing his first official tournament since his shocking exit in the fourth round of the Australian Open, had to save seven match points in the second set tiebreak but came out with the all-important victory as he dampened the resistance of the German in the deciding set.

These two have always engaged in notable scuffles in the past, but this match turned out to be one of their finest duels in terms of the quality of the ball striking and the level that both players displayed on the match court from start to finish. Kohlschreiber, throughout the course of his career, has always been renowned for his counterpunching from the back of the court and his ability to redirect the pace from deep positions behind the baseline, but in today’s match he showed some impressive, aggressive, tennis that almost was enough to topple the World No. 1. Almost. It would have been the first World No.1 victory of Philipp Kohlschreiber’s career and he came agonisingly close to sealing Murray’s fate in an epic tiebreak that finished 20-18 to the Brit.

The German’s tactics on any other day could have won him the match. He took time away from Murray, which as a result prevented him from applying his variety of shots to upset Kohlschreiber rhythm. Murray withstood everything that Kohlschreiber threw at him and waited for his opportunity to seize momentum and seize a stranglehold on the match, while outlasting his determined opponent in a sublime thriller of a match, moving into the night in the desert.

That win will give Murray the world of confidence. Sometimes it is suggested that coming through the painful obstacles where a player stares in the face of defeat can actually lift them even higher than a regulation, straightforward straight sets win and I think this victory will really give Murray a major boost going into the final stretch of Dubai. He faces No.7 seed Lucas Pouille in the semi-final, a player that he has enjoyed incredible success over in the past.

Murray vs Lucas Pouille [7] H2H: Murray leads 3-0

Murray may not have ever won Dubai, but he must feel fairly confident at enhancing the already dominant head-to-head against Frenchman and No.7 seed Pouille. Murray has never lost more than four games in a singles contest against his next opponent and I feel, although it will be closer than their previous meetings, Murray should come through in a straight sets victory.

Pouille is dangerous and is riding a wave of momentum right now. He made the final of Marseille, where he lost to Jo Wilfried Tsonga and is already a Grand Slam quarter-finalist at the age of 23. The difficult aspect of playing Pouille is coming to terms with the fact that he will hit incredible winners, which sometimes as an opponent you just have to accept and move on to the next point. Pouille has the ability to hit a hot streak and can start rolling through games like an express train, but the good thing for Murray is that Pouille can also hand a lot of easy, simple games to his opponent on a plate, which is the sort of opponent that Murray excels against.

When looking at the plethora of options that Murray has at his disposal, it should be enough to see off the fight of Pouille.

Prediction: Murray in two sets.



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