Martin narrowly avoids shutout

Associated Press
Andy Murray of Great Britain defeated Alberto Martin 6-0, 6-0, 6-1. Martin trailed 5-0 in the third set when he finally held serve to prevent the shutout.

MELBOURNE, Australia - Alberto Martin couldn't save the match, so he saved face.


The veteran clay-court specialist finally held his serve on Tuesday in a first-round match against Andy Murray to avoid a shutout. Martin was trailing 6-0, 6-0, 5-0 when he prevented Murray from becoming the first player in the Open Era to win a match with all zeroes at the Australian Open.

The last time there was a shutout in a Grand Slam was in 1993 when two-time French Open champ Sergi Brugera beat Thierry Champion of France in the second round at Roland Garros.

Murray smacked his racket in anger in the sixth game of the final set, mostly because he felt he had let his level of play slip.

"Obviously I didn't want to lose a game if I didn't have to," said Murray. "But it was more the concentration. You probably get one chance in your lifetime to win a match 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. I can't remember it happening."

Murray said he felt for Mar-tin.

"I can imagine that it's pretty tough to take, losing like that," he said. "It's not the nicest feeling after a match is finished to have won like that ... 17 games in a row."

The 19-year-old Scot said he spoke briefly to Martin at the net at the end of the match.

"I just said, 'Bad luck'. That was pretty much it," Martin said. "There's not too much you can say."

NOT DONE YET: Two sets down and one game away from losing the match, David Nalbandian thought his Australian Open campaign was all but over. Then came his opponent's meltdown.

Tournament officials invoked rules to protect players from extreme heat as the temperature soared above 100 degrees, but players who already had started their matches had to complete them.

Playing on an outside court, Serbian Janko Tipsarevic had the measure of Nalbandian in their first-round match, winning the first set in a tiebreaker, the second 6-4 and establishing a 5-2 lead in the third.

But the oppressive heat dropped heavily on Tipsarevic, who wore an ice-filled vest during breaks and stopped chasing shots, letting Nalbandian climb back to win the third set and sweep the fourth 6-0 before the Serb retired in the fourth game of the fifth.



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