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The Herald
By Stuart Fraser in Rotterdam
Thursday 10th February 2011


ANDY MURRAY struggled with wrist problems last night as he suffered a surprise first-round exit in Rotterdam.

Murray was the No.2 seed this week on his return to action after defeat against Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, but suffered pain in his left wrist as he went down 6-4, 6-1 in one hour to the world No.20 Marcos Baghdatis.

“I was struggling a little bit with my wrist but I don’t know why,” said Murray. “It wasn’t terrible today but it seems to be happening a lot this week. A lot of the players have had problems with their wrist. Maybe it’s the change of surface and balls and not having that much time to get used to the conditions. I don’t think it’s anything serious.”

Murray received a warm welcome from the crowd when he walked on court at the Ahoy Arena and treated them to a blistering start with aggressive hitting from the outset. The Scot broke Baghdatis’s serve in the opening game and went a double break up at 3-0.

Murray was returning well early on in the match on the fast hard court surface but let Baghdatis back into the match immediately by losing one of his two breaks in the fourth game. Baghdatis appeared to gain momentum from this while errors started to creep into Murray’s game, and the Cypriot took advantage by breaking again to level at 4-4.

The familiar sight of Murray punching his strings in frustration appeared again at a netted forehand in the ninth game, which Baghdatis held to go 5-4 up. Murray had the chance to draw level at 5-5 but put a volley wide on game point and then gifted Baghdatis the set with a double fault on deuce followed by a netted forehand on set point.

Baghdatis continued to play and serve well and hopes of a Murray comeback were waning when he was broken again to go 3-1 down. Baghdatis was the more comfortable from the baseline and rattled off three games in a row to wrap up the match.

“The court was very fast and you need to be sharp with your movement which I wasn’t,” said Murray. “I didn’t serve very well and you need to serve well on these courts. I had my chance at the beginning of the match to take control when I was 3-0 up but it then went the other way which was my fault.”

Murray will have the chance to make up for last night’s disappointment when he teams up with brother Jamie in the doubles today against the French duo Julien Benneteau and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The siblings are late replacements in the draw for Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Ernests Gulbis after the latter was forced to withdraw because of a fever.

The Murrays won the last tournament they played together in Valencia in November, with the win billed as the perfect wedding present from Andy to Jamie only a week after the latter had married. Now Andy has the chance to deliver another gift on his brother’s 25th birthday, which falls on finals day on Sunday. “I always want to do well in the doubles because I am playing with my brother,” he said. “I will need to play quite a lot better than I did tonight though if we want to win.”

On the WTA Tour, Elena Baltacha was knocked out of the PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand in the second round by the No.6 seed, Peng Shuai of China. Baltacha, ranked 57 in the world, took the first set 6-2, but her opponent fought back to win the second 6-1. Baltacha pushed the world No.40 all the way in the decider, and had a break point. She did not take it, however, and Peng went on to win three games in a row to clinch the set and match.