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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 15:41 GMT
Clinical Murray blows away Rochus
Andy Murray
Murray says he has never been as well prepared for a new season
Britain's Andy Murray started the new season with an impressive victory over Olivier Rochus in the first round of the Qatar Open.

The Scot beat the Belgian 6-0 6-2 to set up a last-16 meeting with Rainer Schuettler, who beat Andrei Pavel.

Murray, seeded third in the tournament, looked in ominous form and took under 30 minutes to win the first set.

Rochus, ranked 48 in the world, battled in the second set but had no answer to Murray's array of shots.

Murray's prospects of advancing to the latter stages were boosted when number two seed Tommy Robredo crashed out to Argentine Agustin Calleri 6-4 6-4.

Murray has identified 2008 as his year to challenge the top five.

He will undoubtedly have to beat tougher opponents than Rochus to achieve his aim but his performance against the diminutive Belgian helped illustrate Murray's claim that he has never been as well prepared for a campaign.

606: DEBATE

Since the end of last season, Murray has been in Miami working on his fitness with "Team Murray" - the band of specialist coaches assembled by the Scot since his split from coach Brad Gilbert.

And, in what was his first match since leaving Gilbert in November, the third seed looked in good shape.

Murray, looking stronger than he has in previous season, was seemingly in a hurry to end the match.

The Scot broke Rochus' serve in the very first game and the 26-year-old Belgian managed to win just two points in the last four games.

Rochus was more positive at the start of the second set but he wasted a number of game points to allow Murray to win his seventh game of the match.

606: DEBATE
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Murray was in ominous form and any resolve left in Rochus' game crumbled as the British number one again broke serve to take a 3-0 lead.

Predictably, Murray held his own serve but then the unexpected happened when Rochus battled back from 15-40 to hold his serve and then went on to break serve for 4-2.

Suddenly, the Belgian's supporters began to raise their voice as, 40-0 up, Rochus looked on course to win his third game on the trot.

But the dogged Murray fought back, in what was easily the longest game of the match, to earn the right to serve for the match.



SEE ALSO
Murray v Rochus as it happened
01 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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