Tennis: Monte Carlo Masters
18 April, 2012
MONTE CARLO: Andy Murray sprang to life on Tuesday as the Scot began his clay-court season with a 6-0, 6-3 hammering of Serb Viktor Troicki to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.
He was joined by 13th seed Fernando Verdasco as the Spaniard beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Under the watchful eye of coach Ivan Lendl, third seed Murray was ruthless in his demolition of Troicki, who gave him a brief fright on clay at last year's French Open. “The goal is Paris, that's what we are working on now,” said Murray, who broke five times on his way to victory. “Usually it takes me a few matches to get comfortable on clay. Today was a really good start.
“The match today was very good, I got off to a good start... Sometimes it's a close, tight, first set, the first match on clay. “Anything can happen, it's very easy on the clay to start rushing and making mistakes. But because I got ahead, I didn't need to do that.” Murray, who said he was feeling increasingly comfortable on clay, showed poise as he put behind him his finals loss at the Miami Masters just over a fortnight ago to Novak Djokovic, the Serbian who is top seed in the principality. Defeat put Troicki deeper into a hole against elite opponents – he has now lost his last 24 matches against top 10 players. Murray dominated from the start, breaking in the opening game and allowing the 30th-ranked Troicki just three points in the first four games of the rout. At one point, the Scot won 14 consecutive points. Murray polished off the opening set in less than half an hour and got off a flyer with an early break in the second set. He boasts a perfect record in five career meetings with Troicki and now moves into a third round match against either Frenchman Julien Benneteau or Austrian 15th seed Jurgen Melzer.
Murray, who reached the semi-finals a year ago before losing to Rafael Nadal, improved to 18-4 for the season as he began the run to Roland Garros. In first-round action, Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan upset German 14th seed Florian Mayer 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 while Fabio Fognini, one of six Italians on court on the day, knocked out Michael Llodra of France 7-5, 6-3. Italy's Filippo Volandri dispatched inexperienced compatriot Alessandro Giannessi 7-5, 6-3 and was joined by countrymen Andreas Seppi and Potito Starace. Portugal's Frederic Gil beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-3 while Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci put out South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4. Tsonga pleased the crowd, who sang in celebration of his 27th birthday after he defeated German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2 6-4. German Florian Mayer, the 14th seed, made a first-round exit after a 3-6 6-1 6-3 defeat by Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin and 10th seed Feliciano Lopez succumbed to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1 6-4.