ANDY MURRAY moved into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a straight-sets win over Gilles Muller.
The only slight blip for the new world number three came when he was broken the first time he served for the match but he quickly put it behind him to clinch a 6-4 7-5 victory in an hour and 45 minutes.
Murray next plays Portugal's Joao Sousa, who he has beaten in straight sets in all four of their previous meetings, most recently at last month's Australian Open.
Muller has been in the form of his life since linking up with British coach Jamie Delgado, a good friend of Murray's.
The pair had been due to play doubles together in Rotterdam a fortnight ago only for Muller to pull out through to illness.
The Luxembourg left-hander withstood strong pressure from Murray to hold serve in a third game that lasted almost 20 minutes but the Scot broke through two games later.
After Murray missed a chance to lead 5-2, Muller threatened to recover the break but could not take advantage of opportunities in the eighth and 10th games as the opening set slipped away.
Murray took a firm grip in the third game of the second set, his ball-striking looking particularly sharp, and seemed set to clinch victory when he served for it at 5-4.
But a double fault proved costly as Muller benefited from two net cords to break back.
However, Murray moved ahead again straight away and made no mistake serving for the match a second time.