Murray back in action in Rotterdam

Andy Murray will seek to put right one of his few losing records when he returns to the court in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam this evening.

Andy Murray will seek to put right one of his few losing records when he returns to the court in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam this evening.

The British number one, playing his first match since the Australian Open, takes on Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic in the first round in Holland.

During his run to world number four, Murray has got the better of most of his rivals but Ljubicic still holds a 2-1 record against the Scot.

Their last meeting came in the final of the Qatar Open in 2007, where the Croat triumphed in straight sets, while they shared a victory apiece the previous year.

However, Ljubicic has tumbled down the rankings from his career-high position of number three in May 2006 and is only just inside the top 50 at 48.

The 29-year-old’s last ATP Tour title came in 2007 and he struggled with back injuries last year.

Ljubicic pushed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to four sets in the second round of the Australian Open but failed to get past the last 16 in his home event in Zagreb last week, having never previously lost before the final.

Second seed Murray will therefore be a hot favourite having improved substantially since their previous meeting while Ljubicic’s best days are behind him.

The 21-year-old will also view the next few months as a good chance to put some pressure on world number three Novak Djokovic, who, unlike Murray, has a lot of ranking points to defend.

The Scot is bidding to bounce back from his fourth-round defeat in Melbourne at the hands of Fernando Verdasco and also record a first victory in the Dutch city having lost his opener to Robin Haase last year.

World number one Rafael Nadal also returns to action in Rotterdam following his stunning victory over Roger Federer in the Australian Open final.

The five-set win gave Nadal his first grand slam title on hard courts and he will now look to build on that having lost to Andreas Seppi in the second round in Holland last year.

Nikolay Davydenko is also in the field after recovering from the heel problem which forced him to miss the Australian Open.

Both are in the other half of the draw from Murray along with Tsonga and Gael Monfils, giving the second seed a good chance of reaching the final at least.

Victory over Ljubicic would set up a second-round clash with Seppi, a 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 7-6 (7/1) victor over Thiemo De Bakker yesterday, while Gilles Simon, David Ferrer and Robin Soderling are the other seeds in his half.

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