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Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 16:47 UK

Superb Murray eases past Malisse

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Andy Murray
Murray faces a tough test against Haas in round three

British number one Andy Murray swept effortlessly into the third round of Wimbledon with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 win over Belgium's Xavier Malisse.

Murray, 21, was in superb form against the 2002 semi-finalist on Centre Court.

He broke in game five to take control of the first set, three times in the second and early in the third as he won in one hour 33 minutes.

The Scot will play Tommy Haas in the third round after the German saw off 23rd seed Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-4 6-3.

"Overall I thought I served really well," Murray told BBC Sport.

"I lost my concentration a little at the end of the second and the middle of the third but I played well, although my groundstrokes could have been a bit better but it's very windy out there.

"It's nice to get off the court in straight sets in my first two matches."

Malisse, 27, was ranked as high as 19 in the world when he made the last four at Wimbledon six years ago but injuries and lack of form have seen him tumble and he is now at 226.

Murray happy to earn evening off

However, the talented Belgian remains motivated and was expected to pose something of a threat to 12th seed Murray, who has played only three complete matches on grass this year.

But from the moment Malisse went wide with a backhand when facing a third break point in game five, the momentum was with the Briton.

Such was his dominance that the patriotic home crowd was able to relax - in marked contrast to the days of Murray's predecessor, Tim Henman.

Murray's backhand was doing the damage and two heavy blows gave the Briton an early break at the start of the second set, an advantage he soon doubled.

It was not all plain sailing and Murray's concentration wandered in game six as Malisse got one of the breaks back, but the Belgian was having his own problems on serve and Murray immediately reclaimed the double-break and took the set.

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A deft drop shot helped Murray to an early break in the third and, despite some stronger resistance from Malisse, the Scot fizzed a backhand return down the line for another double-break at 5-2.

Murray served out with ease, although the moment of victory was slightly delayed as Malisse went to Hawkeye to question what turned out to be the match-winning ace - Murray's 16th of the day.

"For me, my serve, especially my first serve, is one of the best parts of my game," said Murray. "It's something that I've worked on a lot and it's helping me out in my matches.

"I'm not quite hitting at Roddick's speed yet but it's getting there. Hopefully, in the next couple of years I'll get the strength in my shoulder to keep it going."

He added: "I take a lot of confidence from managing to keep my cool and serve big at the important moments. I take a lot of comfort from winning two matches in straight sets."

And looking ahead to the next round and Haas, against whom he has a 1-1 record, Murray said: "It's going to be a tough match. He's had a couple of shoulder operations but he's a good player."

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Murray shows off his ball skills

A litany of injuries have limited Haas's career and last year at Wimbledon he was forced to withdraw a day before his fourth-round match against Roger Federer on Centre Court with a torn abdominal muscle.

"Matches like Andy Murray is why I put the effort in," said the former world number two.

"I don't necessarily feel like I'm owed something after everything that's happened but I would love to play on Centre Court.

"Last year when I pulled out against Federer I thought about staying around and just maybe walking out on Centre Court. I just really want to play there."


see also
Malisse v Murray as it happened
26 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon photos
26 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Venus ends Keothavong challenge
26 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Davenport drops retirement hint
26 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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