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Murray is back in the groove on happy return

By Steve Simpson

World No.1 Andy Murray eased into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships yesterday on his return after suffering a shock Australian Open exit five weeks ago.

The top seed, now fully fit after a bout of shingles, beat Malek Jaziri 6-4 6-1, avoiding the fate of second seed and title holder Stan Wawrinka, who was dumped out as his form collapsed following an early 4-1 lead.

“I was a little bit uneasy, I’ve never hit with him or played against him before,” Murray said. “It took a little bit of time to get used to his game.

“But I played better as the match went on. I don’t feel sore anywhere. I felt like I moved good and the body felt good.”

Murray, who was knocked out in the fourth round in Melbourne, had to work for 45 minutes to win the opening set but the Scot ran away with the second against the outclassed Jaziri.

Murray will now face Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez today.

Later, Murray revealed that his mother-in-law played a crucial role in diagnosing his recent illness.

He had been struggling with a rash “from his bum to his stomach” that was painful to touch, but paid little attention until the mother of his wife stepped in.

Murray said: “I didn’t think much of it at the beginning, but it was actually my wife’s mum (who diagnosed it). We were having dinner and I said ‘this is really irritating me’ and she was like ‘pull your pants down and show me, it might be shingles’ and I was like ‘okay’. And then the next day I got to the doctor and she was right.”

He explained that his mother-in-law had previously come into contact with the illness so knew the symptoms.

“I think her son Scott had it so she’d seen it before, but it’s quite strange. It comes in like an arc and it doesn’t go past the centre of your body, it’s on one side. I knew when I read about it that it was clearly that and then the doctor confirmed it the next day,” he said.

Swiss three-time Grand Slam winner Wawrinka was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in the first round by outsider Damir Dzumhur.

Following defeat by the 77th-ranked journeyman from Bosnia-Herzegovina, he admitted that his fitness was lacking.

“I started well but it was tough because I was missing something. In practice it was starting to be okay, but today I was missing something,” he said.

Despite his exit, Wawrinka said that his knee was giving him no pain, a positive sign heading into back-to-back Masters 1000 events starting next week in Indian Wells and Miami.

“I need to focus on myself. I need to practice more, to get in a better level,” Wawrinka said.

“I’m quite unhappy to lose the first round. It’s tough because I played well last year here. I was happy to be back.”

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