Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Andy Murray vows to fight on for ‘last few months’ after defeating Denis Shapovalov

Andy Murray beat Denis Shapovalov in three sets at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships; Murray impressively came back from losing the first set to beat Shapovalov 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in round one of the tournament; It was just Murray’s second victory so far this year

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Highlights of Andy Murray’s win over Denis Shapovalov at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Andy Murray came back from a set down to defeat Denis Shapovalov in round one of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – but said he “probably doesn’t have too long left” in tennis.

Murray, refusing to be written off, recorded just his second win in 2024, beating Shapovalov 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

It was Murray’s 500th win on a hard court, making him only the fifth male player in history to achieve that milestone, after Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi.

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Image: Denis Shapovalov returns the ball to Andy Murray during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

“It’s not bad. Hard courts has been a great surface for me over the years. Five hundred, it’s a lot of matches. I’m very proud of that,” Murray said afterwards.

“There’s not many players that have done that. It’s great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

A legend of British tennis, the 36-year-old is anticipating his career ending in a matter of months.

During his second-round match at the Qatar Open last week, it appeared he had said the game wasn’t for him anymore.

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After losing the opportunity to break Jakub Mensik at the Qatar Open, Andy Murray appeared to say ‘this game isn’t for me anymore’.

“People read a lot into what I say on the court sometimes and it’s not always rational,” Murray clarified.

“I still love competing, I still love the game. It gets harder and harder the older you get to compete with the young guys. You’ve got to keep your body fit and fresh.”

He concluded: “It’s not easy, I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do the best that I can these last few months.”

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After beating Denis Shapovalov in Dubai, Andy Murray discusses reaching his 500th hard-court win and responds to his viral outburst

Story of the match

Murray made an assured start to the match, not allowing the Canadian to win a point in the first game.

The Scotsman was looking strong on his serve right up until the ninth game. Then Murray could only smile in exasperation after putting the ball out to give Shapovalov two break points.

With Murray out of position, Shapovalov had a great opportunity to convert the first of them but he pulled it wide.

However, he took the second when Murray, after a long rally, hit a backhand out a fraction too long.

Image: Murray secured his second win of the year so far in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

It was a key breakthrough for Shapovalov in such a tight contest. Staying by the net he tapped the ball over, well beyond Murray, to close out his next service game and win the first set.

Murray gave away the first point of the second set when he scooped a backhand into the net, but then reeled off four consecutive points, while making three correct challenges.

He got to his first break point of the match when he took the next game to advantage. But the Canadian defended that and blazed serves down to deny Murray further opportunity.

Murray had to fend off break points himself in the next as Shapovalov put him under pressure. At one moment he pirouetted on the spot to prod the ball over the net but still lost the point.

Murray came through though to hold serve and a double fault from Shapovalov brought the fourth game of the second set to deuce. With Murray on advantage, a second double fault gave that game and the break to Murray.

The Briton though let Shapovalov into the next game and voiced his anger as a break of serve immediately went Shapovalov’s way.

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Andy Murray took out his frustrations on his racket after a break of serve from Denis Shapovalov

Despite Murray’s efforts to fire back, Shapolov levelled the set to keep up his momentum.

Murray slung excellent shots down the court but Shapolov relentlessly chased down returns.

Murray held his nerve though and held his serve. He took the second set into a tiebreak and pocketed the first mini-break.

He would not be denied, winning that tie-break 7-5 to claim the second set and keep himself in the match.

Murray pushed himself at the start of the third set, breaking Shapovalov’s serve in the first game. He maintained that lead in the deciding set.

Shapovalov’s play became increasingly erratic, spraying wild shots out of bounds although Murray occasionally clasped his lower back seemingly in discomfort.

The Canadian became frustrated after Murray made another significant hold of serve, banging the floor and then later his own head with his racket.

He sent a brilliant backhand return past Shapovalov to get to match point and then sealed the victory.

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Check out the winning point as Andy Murray beats Denis Shapovalov at the Dubai Open.

‘Not easy but I got it done’

Reflecting on his victory over Shapovalov, Murray said: “Both of us haven’t won too many matches lately and he missed a large part of last year.

“On these courts, he’s obviously played well here in the past and his serving is unbelievable and you need to try and get the balance right between just reacting to his big shots but not just trying to put balls in the court.

“It wasn’t easy but I managed to get it done in the end.”

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