On paper, this was a comfortable draw for Murray. Bourgue, ranked 164, had never played a top 50 opponent before. He had never played in the main draw of a slam prior to this week. But in tennis, and especially in slams, anything can happen. To his credit, Bourgue played an excellent match, at a level well above his ranking.
Murray had looked in firm control at the beginning, taking the first set 6-2. When he went up 2-0 in the second set, he was on course for a routine win. But then the tone of the match changed.
The world number 2 lost concentration, a double...
The Scot won through this French Open first round 3-6 3-6 6-0 6-3 7-5.
Radek Stepanek is a prickly character who delights in celebrating every winning point as if he’s just unicycled up K2. And, over the course of this two-day marathon, he was consistently successful in squirting water from his buttonhole right into his opponent’s eye.
As for Murray, every time he parped his car horn, the doors blew off. That was especially evident during the first two sets, where the Scot hit short, inviting the Czech to exploit the net and carve crazy dro...
Before he gets that far, though, there could be giant hurdles to overcome in the shape of Ivo Karlovic and John Isner, while Kei Nishikori or Nick Kyrgios could lurk in the quarter-finals.
At least Murray has a relatively gentle introduction to the Parisian clay, with a qualifier in round one followed by either French wildcard Matthias Bourgue or another qualifier in round two.
Murray’s possible route to Roland Garros glory:
That this should happen on Clay - historically a surface Murray has struggled on - augurs well for the French Open later this month.
Murray showed none of the timidity that hampered him in the early stages of the Madrid Open final last week. The world number three opened in emphatic fashion, holding to love and immediately earning three break points on Djokovic's serve. The Serb managed to fend Murray off, but the reprieve was brief. More break points came at 2-1 and this time Murray made no mistake. A heavy topspin forehand loade...
On the eve of his 29th birthday and after a rain delay forced a late start to proceedings, Murray clinched the first break of serve to move ahead 3-1.
A further squall of wet weather swept through to push the players off the court for 15 minutes, but Murray's fire was not dampened as he broke again and went on to take the set 6-2.
Beaten in qualifying by Murray's first round opponent, Mikhail Kukushkin, Pouille would not have expected to be involved in the tournament proper by this point. Having benefitted from a walkover victory in the previous round, the end of the Roman road was in sight for him as Murray refused to let up. With som...
Seeing the Scot and Goffin toe-to-toe on a clay court has a resonance for British tennis fans, recalling as it does Murray’s decisive rubber in last year’s Davis Cup final in Ghent.
This victory came without the nationalistic fervour of that event but never looked in serious doubt after the first game, in which Goffin broke the world number three to love. Murray soon found his rhythm, however, and reeled off the next six.
Murray had to dig a little deeper in the second set, with Goffin raising his gam...
Andy Murray: Returning in the Age of the Returner