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Tennis: Ruthless Murray starts clay season in style

Andy Murray started his clay-court season in style by beating Viktor Troicki 6-0 6-3 to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

The third-seeded Briton had to rally from two sets down before getting the better of the Serb in last year's French Open fourth round, but this victory was much more comfortable.

"Normally when I come here I usually find I need a few matches to get adjusted," said Murray, who lost to seven-time defending champion Rafael Nadal in last year's semi-finals. "But I played very well."

Murray had spent a few days practising on clay in Florida before heading to the Mediterranean. "The sooner I can get on this surface for me the better," he said. "It was good that I stayed in the States and actually got sort of four or five days on the clay there before coming here.

"I wasn't getting that many free points with the serve. I was using it more to set the way I was playing the points up rather than going for free points."

Murray didn't face a break point in racing to 6-0 against Troicki. He led 4-0 in the opening set after 17 minutes and closed it out with a forehand down the line. He broke twice in the second set, sealing victory when Troicki's backhand went wide.

Murray is being helped with his clay game by coach Ivan Lendl, who won three French Opens in eight Grand Slam titles plus two Monte Carlo Masters among his 94 career victories.

Murray next plays either Austria's Jurgen Melzer or Julien Benneteau of France.

Meanwhile, Italian veteran Andreas Seppi's reward for a 6-3 6-1 win against Victor Hanescu is to play top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the second round today, when Nadal is also in action against Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen.

Irish Independent