Mubadala World Tennis Championship: Day 2 Preview
December 28, 2012 · Print This Article
by: Tom Cochrane
The Mubadala World Tennis Championship got underway on Thursday evening, with two of the best players on the ATP Tour in 2012, Andy Murray and David Ferrer, suffering different fates as they launched their 2013 campaigns in Abu Dhabi.
Olympic gold medallist and US Open champion Andy Murray was the first to take to the court on the opening day, facing the enigmatic Janko Tipsarevic. Tournament organisers had clearly hoped for a Murray – Nadal semi-final on Day 2 of the tournament, but with Nadal pulling out with a stomach virus before the event started, that dream ended before a ball had been hit. To complete the surprises, Murray went down in straight sets to Tipsarevic, 6-3 6-4, with a lack of recent match practice resulting in Murray looking fairly rusty. The Scot went down a pair of breaks in each set as Tipsarevic appeared immediately at ease on the fast hard court. Murray gradually worked his way back into each set but the ninth-ranked Serb, who has to be rated as a dark horse at the hard-court Grand Slams, was not to be denied, holding his nerve to claim a famous victory.
For Murray, it’s not a catastrophic loss – no doubt the Scot enjoyed a well-earned break following the season-ending championships in London, which completed another gruelling season on the circuit, and is still working his way back into top form. Murray will be looking to peak for the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, where he has twice been a finalist and will again be a major contender. Moving on to Brisbane to defend his Brisbane International crown, Murray will be looking for plenty of match play in the Queensland capital in the run-up to Melbourne.
For Tipsarevic, the win over Murray is another indication that the Serb has the talent to beat any of the top players on tour. Tipsarevic can file this win away in his top tier of victories, along with wins over Federer and Djokovic in 2012. The next step for the world number 9 is to go deep into a Grand Slam and see if he can replicate such success over the sport’s biggest names on its biggest stages. First of all, though, Tipsarevic will face Nadal’s replacement, Nicolas Almagro, in one of today’s semi-finals. Having shown last night that he is in fine form, I’m backing Tipsarevic to defeat the Spaniard, who may find it hard to adjust to the Abu Dhabi courts after his late call-up to the event and having not played any matches in the stadium so far. Tipsarevic in 3.
David Ferrer, who won a leading 7 titles on the ATP Tour in 2012, showed that he is ready to start 2013 in the same way that he finished the regular season in 2012 by comfortably defeating Tomas Berdych in Thursday’s second match. Ferrer raced out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set, as Berdych struggled to find his range from the back of the court. With his forehand particularly damaging and his court coverage excellent as always, Ferrer maintained a break of serve secured early in the second set to record a 6-2 6-4 victory. Ferrer will next face Novak Djokovic in today’s other semi-final, in what is a repeat of last year’s Abu Dhabi final. On that occasion a ruthless Djokovic allowed Ferrer only 3 games for the entire match. I favour Djokovic to again come up trumps, but I think Ferrer will make a much tighter match of it this time around. Djokovic in 2.