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Page last updated at 18:44 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 19:44 UK

Murray to take on Monaco in Rome


Murray focused on opening Rome match

British number one Andy Murray will face Juan Monaco of Argentina in his opening singles match at the Rome Masters on Tuesday.

The Scot, 21, had a bye in the first round as the fourth seed, while Monaco beat Germany's Nicolas Kiefer 6-2 6-3.

Murray and Monaco have met once before, with the Briton winning 4-6 6-3 6-2 on his way to victory in Miami last Month.

On Monday, Murray and Ross Hutchins lost 6-4 6-4 in the doubles to Julien Benneteau and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"The conditions were terrible," said Murray. "There was dust everywhere, wind blowing leaves from the trees on to the court.

Any time you move up in the rankings is a good thing but I can't get too caught up in it, I need to focus on my own matches

Andy Murray

"We had to stop in between points because dust was getting in our eyes. I've played in windy conditions before but unlike Barcelona, where it also can get windy, this was something else."

Murray has been drawn in the same half as world number one Rafael Nadal, against whom he lost in the Monte Carlo semis two weeks ago, but is focused on his second-round match against Monaco, the world number 58.

"It's very difficult," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "(Monaco) had a bad illness last year and before that was ranked inside the top 20, and clay is his best surface so I'm going to have to play very, very well to beat him.

"He came through qualifying, he won his first round very easily and he's going to be confident so I'm going to give it my best shot."

Murray and Monaco are scheduled for the third match on Stadio Pietrangeli, with the first match getting under way at 1200 BST.


Rome could provide Murray with the chance to move past Novak Djokovic to third in the rankings, as the Serb is the reigning champion and has to defend maximum points, while Murray will aim to improve on last year's round two exit.

"Any time you move up in the rankings is a good thing but I can't get too caught up in it, I need to focus on my own matches," Murray told 5 Live.

"I'm very close to doing it now and hopefully I can do it this week."

If Murray is to reach the last four, he will face a similar route to the one he negotiated in Monte Carlo with Marin Cilic and Nikolay Davydenko likely to stand in his way.

Djokovic will first play Albert Montanes , who defeated local hope Potito Starace 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 on Monday.

World number two Roger Federer opens against 6ft 10in Croat Ivo Karlovic, who beat Jan Hernych 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Romanian qualifier Victor Crivoi upset American 14th seed James Blake 7-5 6-3, despite letting a 5-0 lead slip in the first set.

"He might have gotten a little nervous trying to close out the first set, and I didn't put any pressure on him," said Blake.

"I wasn't attacking, and when I tried to attack I was missing. Just a really bad day."

Swiss 10th seed Stanislas Wawrinka saw off Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 6-3 6-4.

For Nadal, the trip to Rome is a return to the scene of one of his rare defeats on clay.

The peerless Spaniard lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Italian capital last year, one of only two defeats on his favourite surface in the last four years.

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see also
Nadal seals fifth Monte Carlo win
19 Apr 09 |  Tennis
Murray battles through in Miami
28 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Djokovic defeats Wawrinka in Rome
11 May 08 |  Tennis
Nadal falls to shock loss on clay
07 May 08 |  Tennis

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