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Page last updated at 22:51 GMT, Saturday, 28 March 2009

Murray battles through in Miami

Sony Ericsson Open, Miami
Date: 25 March to 5 April Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio 5 Live, live scores/text commentaries on BBC Sport website & mobiles. Live on Sky Sports.


Andy Murray
Murray is closing in on the world number three ranking

Britain's Andy Murray began his Sony Ericsson Open campaign with a hard-fought win over Argentine Juan Monaco in the second round in Miami.

The Scot, who had a first-round bye, came through 4-6 6-3 6-2 and will next face Chile's Nicolas Massu.

Murray was in trouble after being broken twice in the first set and facing break points early in the second but he recovered well to find his form.

Later on Saturday Rafael Nadal beat Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-2 6-2.

"I didn't practice as well as I did in Indian Wells," said the Spaniard. "More wind here. It's more difficult to play but it's important get the rhythm right with the match."

The world number one will next face Portugal's Frederico Gil , who was a surprise 6-4 6-4 winner over 26th seed Ivo Karlovic.

There were a lot of long rallies that kind of took my breath away a little bit - last week conditions were much nicer to play in

Andy Murray

Murray's hopes of closing in on world number three Novak Djokovic in the rankings looked doomed as he struggled early on against Monaco.

While the Argentine clay-court expert, ranked 59 in the world, was predictably aggressive from the baseline, Murray could not get going on serve.

The 21-year-old Scot lost his second and third service games as a forgettable set slipped away.

Murray was not about to throw in the towel, however, and he was pumped up at the start of the second after recovering from 0-40 in the opening game.

The Briton then broke and went on to convert his lead, coming through a titanic 10th game thanks to a lunging volley at break-point down as he levelled matters.

Any thoughts that a straightforward win was finally on the cards were briefly put on hold as Murray handed back a break at the start of the final set with a double-fault in the following game.

But the world number four made it three breaks in a row as his backhand down the line caused Monaco serious problems in game three, and from 2-1 he closed out the match in style.

"Juan played very well," Murray told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I was hitting the ball a little bit short to start with.

606: DEBATE

"It's very different conditions to last week (in Indian Wells) where the ball was flying, whereas here it's very humid, which slows the ball down a little bit.

"But I managed to fight my way back into it; not my best match but I served well when I needed to."

And on his early problems, Murray said: "I struggled a little bit in the first set. There were a lot of long rallies that kind of took my breath away a little bit - last week conditions were much nicer to play in - but as the match went on I started to get a little bit more comfortable."

In other matches, women's number three seed Jelena Jankovic was beaten 6-4 7-6 (7-5) by Gisela Dulko despite leading 5-2 in the second set and by the same score in the tie-break.

"I haven't been playing well at all," said the Serb. "I've been losing to players because I'm just not at my level.

"I'm not the same player as I used to be. I've lost a couple of matches which for a player of my calibre it's not really acceptable and so I lost a little bit of confidence. That showed today in the match."

Serena Williams began her bid for a sixth Miami title, and third in a row, with a straightforward 6-2 6-3 win over fellow American Alexa Glatch.

She will now play China's Shuai Peng, seeded 32nd, who beat Italian Mara Santangelo 7-5 6-3.

Wimbledon champion Venus Williams dropped the first three games against Shahar Peer but stormed back to win 6-3 6-3.

Men's eighth seed Fernando Verdasco defeated German qualifier Benjamin Becker 6-3 6-4, Viktor Troicki upset 14th seed David Nalbandian 6-1 6-3, and 11th seed David Ferrer saw off John Isner 6-3 3-6 6-2.



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see also
Miami photos
28 Mar 09 |  Tennis


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