Andy Murray in the first round of Wimbledon 2023, UK
Andy Murray in the first round of Wimbledon 2023, UK | (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Tennis | ATP Dubai 2024 | Murray ousts Shapovalov to set Humbert clash

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Andy Murray def Denis Shapovalov [PR] 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3
  • Murray v Ugo Humbert [5] | H2H: Murray leads 2-0
DUBAI, UAE – Andy Murray ousted Denis Shapovalov in three sets to set up a second round clash with fifth seed Ugo Humbert in Dubai.


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Andy Murray def Denis Shapovalov [PR] 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3

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Andy Murray is into the second round in Dubai after gaining his second win of the season with a three set win over Denis Shapovalov. Both players started strongly as Murray took advantage of the fast surface quickly by serving impressively and not allowing Shapovalov time on the ball on return.

Despite Shapovalov’s poor start to the season, the Canadian also began the match quickly as his big lefty serve did damage early on. The opening set would ultimately be decided by the player that produced more erratic errors and wasn’t as efficient on serve.

As the set wore on, that looked more and more like Murray with the Brit struggling to be consistent on his serve and that proved to be the case as he was broken in the ninth game. The Canadian only needed a second set point to take advantage as he sealed the opening set in 38 minutes against a frustrated Murray.

In the second set Shapovalov produced more errors on his serve as Murray produced consistent quality on return from the backhand side. Although neither player could take early break point opportunities, it was Murray who raised his game when it mattered most as he broke for a 3-1 lead.

However as has proven to be the case throughout the season, Murray struggled to maintain his level as the Brit failed to use depth or variety to break Shapovalov down. The Canadian took advantage as he became more aggressive to break in the next game.

There were plenty more opportunities as the set went on as both players showed their lack of confidence on serve with both players needing to win this match. As a result the second set went to a tiebreak as both players became passive on return.

An inconsistent tiebreak from Murray but one he was always in control of as he was the player who was the more proactive and aggressive. The former world number one edged the tiebreak 7-5 as Shapovalov’s frustrations grew with this match entering a deciding set.

The quality, poise and experience from Murray would tell in the final set as Shapovalov’s desperation and over-aggression worked against the Canadian. A comfortable final set was produced from Murray as he carried the momentum from the second set into the decider by breaking in the opening game.

Clutch serving from Murray mixed with some deep and accurate shot-making from the baseline saw the Brit comfortably hold onto his serve. The Canadian’s lack of confidence showed as Murray’s anticipation on return triumphed as he broke for a third time in the match to seal a second victory of the season.


Andy Murray v Ugo Humbert [5] H2H & Match Fundamentals

Andy Murray v Ugo Humbert [5] H2H: Murray leads 2-0
ATP Dubai 2024 Dubai, UAE 
Hard (O) Prize Money: $43,025
Second on Centre Court (Not before 12:00 GMT) Sky/Now TV <- Subscription Required

Next for Murray will be fifth seed Ugo Humbert, who he has beaten twice before both on indoor hard courts.


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2024)

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H2H: Andy Murray (WR 67) Ugo Humbert (WR 18)
Tournament Previous Best Champion (2017) N/A
1st Serve % 59.1 65.3
Service Games Won % 75.8 86.5
Break Points Saved % 51.5 66
2nd Serve Return Points Won % 51.5 57.1
Break Points Converted % 42.9 41.9

Murray will need to improve his points won on second serve as he takes on an effective and efficient server in the form of Humbert.



Playing styles and prediction

Humbert has had a good start to the season with the highlight of the Frenchman’s year being his title in Marseille, where he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the final. Now Humbert will look to continue his good form as he searches for a place in the world’s top 15.

Murray will look to be smart on return as he hopes to extend the rallies and force erratic errors from Humbert from the baseline. Meanwhile the Frenchman will look to serve accurately and come to the net to finish the points off early. A quick start is needed for Murray otherwise it could be a long afternoon against the in-form Frenchman.

Prediction: Humbert in three sets.      



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