Murray opens clay season with win

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.

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.

FEDERER SHOCKED IN TORONTO

roger-federer.jpgWorld number one Roger Federer exited the Rogers Cup, while Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal continued his remarkable run.

Top seed Federer opened play and all appeared normal early on but unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon turned things around for a stunning 2-6 7-5 6-4 triumph.

Nadal, meanwhile, claimed a comfortable 6-4 6-2 victory over American qualifier Jesse Levine.

Federer, who was playing his first match since losing to Nadal at Wimbledon, is having a poor year by his standards and lost his 10th contest out of 53 this season, where he has won two titles and no Grand Slam championships.

Of course, the rapid emergence of Nadal, who has beaten Federer in all four contests between the two in finals this season, has played a significant role in the 26-year-old’s downturn.

This particular venue had been a favourite of Federer’s, however, as he was unbeaten in 13 matches at the Rexall Centre, claiming titles in 2004 and 2006.

But Federer, who has 55 career titles, will have to wait until next year to try and become the third player in the Open era to win three Canadian titles, joining Ivan Lendl (six) and Andre Agassi.

Simon is ranked number 22 in the world and won the event in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Nadal was playing his first match since winning Wimbledon and rolled into the third round of this hardcourt event with a straight sets win over Levine.

The first player to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season since Bjorn Borg in 1980, Nadal is at the top of his game.

The world number two since July 2005 has won his last four tournaments played and is on a 25-match winning streak.

“It’s not easy to play, especially after Wimbledon. I didn’t have much practice so it’s was a tough start,” Nadal said.

“Right now I am just continuing to try and improve my hard court season.”

The 22-year-old, who captured this event in 2005, leads the ATP with 57 wins this year and has captured six titles overall to move to 29 career titles

MIAMI BYE FOR MURRAY

murray.jpgAndy Murray has been handed a bye in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.The tournament starts on Wednesday but the British number one, seeded 13th for the tournament, will not be in action until the second round, where he will face the winner of Gilles Simon’s match against Mario Ancic.

World number one Roger Federer, who is in the other half of the draw from Murray, has also been given a bye.

Murray’s fellow Briton Alex Bogdanovic failed in his bid to qualify, going down 6-4 3-6 6-1 to Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.