Andy Murray has advanced to the second round of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, beating Frenchman Eduoard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-3.
Murray last played in Rotterdam in 2011 and beat Rafael Nadal to win the title in 2009. He was not originally scheduled to play this week but accepted a late wild card into the tournament, a positive sign for his continued return to form following last September's back surgery.
It was an efficient performance from the Wimbledon champion, who looked sharp from the beginning of the match. He moved and returned very well, successfully attacking his opponent's second serve and nullifying the net game of the world number 35 over time with impressive passing shots.
Three chances for Murray to break came in the first game, but Roger-Vasselin showed good netplay to hold serve. But Murray kept up the pressure on the 30-year-old Frenchman's serve in the third game, maintaining excellent depth on his return of serve to carve out a 0-40 advantage. The first two break points were saved, but not the third. The world number 6 was at his defensive best here, scrambling across the baseline and breaking with a running forehand passing shot to take a 2-1 lead.
(44.04 KB. 660x350 - viewed 21721 times.)
Murray faced few problems on serve in the first set, conceding only one point on his first serve while continuing to pressure Roger-Vasselin's second serve. With the Frenchman serving at 3-5, the world number 6 gained a 15-40 advantage after once again punishing his opponent's second serve. Although he was unable to convert on these opportunities, he converted his next set point with a trademark backhand down-the-line winner.
The second set started in positive fashion, with the Scot holding and then breaking to take a 2-0 lead. Compared to the first set, Murray faced more difficulty in his service games but managed to play his way out of trouble. Serving at 3-2, he recovered well from 15-40 down to hold, helped by good serving, and again saved two further break points at 4-2, winning the game with a dropshot winner from the baseline. He served out the match at 5-3, converting on his first match point with an angled off-forehand which his opponent returned long.
Murray will face Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem, ranked 113, in the second round.