ANDY MURRAY survived a scare before battling back to see off Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin in his first match of 2012 at the Brisbane International yesterday.
Murray ended 2011 in some style with victories in three of his final five tournaments before a groin injury ended his challenge at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but he almost suffered a miserable start to his new season after dropping the first set against a player ranked 91st in the world.
However, he recovered to earn a 5-7 6-3 6-2 win in two hours and 10 minutes.
The world number four and top seed, whose new coach Ivan Lendl is due to arrive in Queensland later this week, will now face Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in the second round.
Murray admitted he was not at his best at the start and was taken by surprise at the way Kukushkin played early on.
“He was hitting winners from all over the place. I was a little bit slow but I wasn’t expecting him to come out swinging like that,” Murray said. “He was hitting the ball great so I was glad I was able to turn it around.
“You’re meant to be ready from the start and I wasn’t quite there today, but I played better towards the end, I started to move a little bit better.
“My body loosened up a little bit so hopefully I will pull up okay tomorrow.”