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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 17:29 UK

Murray opens clay season with win

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Murray satisfied with clay opener

British number one Andy Murray began his clay-court season with a fine win over Romanian Victor Hanescu in round two of the Monte Carlo Masters.

The 21-year-old Scot, who had a bye in the first round as the fourth seed, overcame a tentative start to win 6-3 6-2 in one hour 25 minutes.

Murray faces Croatia's Marin Cilic or Italian Fabio Fognini in round three.

Novak Djokovic, whose world number three ranking Murray is closing in on, beat Oscar Hernandez of Spain 6-1 6-2.

When asked about his performance Murray said: "I'm very happy with it.

"The start was tough, he played a few good shots and broke me a couple of times but I'm happy with the way I moved.

"I was getting good shape on my shots and didn't make too many mistakes. I could have served a little better but apart from that I'm very happy."

Murray made a cautious start, playing conservatively from the baseline and struggling to take the initiative as the first four games went against serve.

But despite a few clever drop shots, Hanescu did not have enough to worry the Briton and from the moment Murray broke to lead 4-2 he remained in control.

A Hanescu double-fault in game three of the second set saw Murray take charge again and a couple of heavy cross-court forehand winners earned the double-break in game seven.

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Murray let a 40-15 lead slip when serving for the match and saved another break point, before match point three slipped away after the umpire overturned a call when checking a mark.

The drama was not to last long, however, and a forehand error from Hanescu gave Murray victory at the fourth attempt.

Djokovic won an impressive 70% of his service points as he made light work of his match against qualifier Hernandez.

The 21-year-old world number three, who currently holds a 170-point lead over Murray in the rankings, also converted five of 14 break points to set up a third round clash with either Monaco wild card Jean-Rene Lisnard or Spaniard Albert Montanes.

In the battle of two former Grand Slam champions Russian Marat Safin won in straight sets against Australian Lleyton Hewitt 6-4 7-5.

Safin faces Nicolas Lapentti in the next round after the Ecuadorian overcame Czech Radek Stepanek on Monday.

There were two surprise results early on Tuesday as sixth seed Gilles Simon and ninth seed Gael Monfils went out.

Monfils lost 6-3 6-1 to Janko Tipsarevic before fellow Frenchman Simon went down 7-5 6-1 to Andreas Beck.

"I don't remember ever playing so badly," said Simon. "Nothing was right. Nothing was working. My forehand, my backhand, my serve, nothing. I believe this match is a record."

And 12th seed David Nalbandian heaped further misery on the French as he beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 3-6 6-3.



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see also
Monte Carlo photos
14 Apr 09 |  Tennis
Murray v Hanescu as it happened
14 Apr 09 |  Tennis
Rivals still fearful of Federer
13 Apr 09 |  Tennis


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