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Murray ready to motor at last after 'cold' start . . .

Andy Murray can be a restless soul but he will be positively itching to get going when he finally gets on to court at in Shanghai today.

Roger Federer defeated Lu Yen-Hsun 6-3, 7-5 yesterday in Shanghai. Picture: Reuters
Roger Federer defeated Lu Yen-Hsun 6-3, 7-5 yesterday in Shanghai. Picture: Reuters

The Olympic and US Open champion was given another day off yesterday when Germany's Florian Mayer pulled out of their scheduled second-round match, complaining of a rib injury.

Murray's first match as he attempts to win the title for the third straight year will come today against the talented and unpredictable Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, who earned his place in the last 16 yesterday with a surprise 6-3, 6-4 win over the 15th seed Gilles Simon of France. Murray knows that he will need to be solid against an opponent who has never been one to hit shots out of the textbook.

The world No.20 loves to change the pace and use a slice, sometimes even when it's not the right shot. Murray knows what to expect, having played and beaten him three times out of three, but going into today's match "cold" may present its own difficulties.

"You never know whether it's a good or a bad thing," said Murray. "Whoever I play will have played two matches in these conditions. It may take a while for me to adjust. You just need to make sure you stay sharp and come out playing well."

The incentive to do so is not just his bid for a third straight title in Shanghai but also the 1000 ranking points that come with it. Murray is a long way behind Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at world No.3 but is intent on reducing the gap to be in a position to strike early next year. Although it is arithmetically possible for him to overhaul the top two before the year is out, his big chance to gain points could come in March at Indian Wells, where he lost in the second round last year.

To that end, he has decided not to play in Dubai in February and instead, after the Australian Open, will spend some time at home before travelling to Miami to train before heading to California.

Federer and Djokovic eased through their opening matches yesterday. Federer defeated Lu Yen-Hsun 6-3, 7-5 while Djokovic, favourite to end the year at the top of the rankings, crushed Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-2.

Scotland's Colin Fleming and his English partner Ross Hutchins claimed their place in round two with a 5-7, 6-4, 10-5 win over Fabio Fognini, of Italy, and the Slovak Martin Klizan in the doubles.

It was only their second win at a Masters 1000 event but, in 11th place in the calendar-year rankings, they still have a chance to make the top eight for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

*Elena Baltacha has had successful surgery on her right foot as she ponders whether to make a comeback to top-level tennis, writes Roddy Mackenzie.

The 29-year-old Scot has not played since London 2012 and has since dropped to British No.4 and world No.135. She hopes to resume light training next month or in December but will not make a decision on her long-term future until early 2013.

"I had surgery to remove a little piece of bone that was causing a lot of problems around my ankle," she said. "It looks like I'll be on crutches for a few weeks, but there'll be no stopping me after that.

"If I miss tennis and want to get on a plane and give it another go, then I will," she said. "But if I decide that I want to dedicate my life to the [Elena Baltacha] Academy, then that's what I'll do."

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