Andy Murray happy after beating qualifier at French Open
By Andy Murray's standards it was a very straightforward first outing at the French Open, but the world number four conceded today's 6-4 6-1 6-3 victory over qualifier Eric Prodon had been a frustrating experience.
The Scot has played five-setters first up on three of his four previous visits to Roland Garros, including 12 months ago, when he came from two sets down to beat Richard Gasquet.
Prodon, ranked 124th in the world, is certainly not in Gasquet's class and in truth he did not really threaten even to take a set off Murray but the 29-year-old's unpredictability left his opponent dissatisfied.
He said: "It was a tough match. There was no rhythm really to the match. He didn't want to have any long rallies so he was hitting a lot of drop shots and going for his shots. He'd change the rhythm or change the pace of the ball a lot.
"I was annoyed with the way I was moving. I was hitting the ball well from the back of the court, especially towards the end of the match, and I served well, but I didn't move particularly well."
Prodon has played nearly all his tennis on clay at Futures and Challenger level, where he has enjoyed so much success that he is known as the Roger Federer of the Futures.
Murray's only previous sighting of the Frenchman came at a tournament in Edinburgh in 2004, and he relied on best friend Dani Vallverdu for information about Prodon.
The fourth seed, who confirmed he will definitely play in Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against Luxembourg in July, said: "Dani knows a lot of the South American players who had seen him from Challengers and got some pretty good tactics.
"I was told going in he's very unpredictable. That's why it was a difficult match and just a quite frustrating one to play, because even though I was in front, all of the points were just really scrappy until the end when I went behind."
Murray, who winced when he was introduced as "l'Anglais" on Court Suzanne Lenglen, had his serve broken twice in the match - once when he was serving for the opening set and once to trail 3-1 in the decider.
Both times Prodon betrayed his lack of big-match experience with poor games to hand the initiative straight back, and Murray needed no second invitation to set up a second-round clash with another qualifier, Italian Simone Bolelli, on Thursday.
Prodon consulted the doctor at various times during the match and he revealed afterwards that, as well as struggling with ongoing abdominal pain, he was also suffering from suspected gastroenteritis.
The Frenchman said: "It's a miracle that I finished the match and played three sets with nothing in my stomach since last night. Of course it is frustrating. He's a good player. I really wanted to play a real match against him.
"I succeeded sometimes to do a few good things. But it felt frustrating to not be able to deliver during this kind of match."
Prodon felt his unfamiliarity was an advantage at the start of the match but he conceded he could not find the consistency to exploit Murray's lapses.
"I felt he was a bit tense to begin with," he added. "Like any other big player, when they walk on court in the first round, it's never too easy. They need to find their landmarks, discover who the opponent is, because he didn't know me.
"But once he started finding his way around, he released his shots during the second set. Even in the third set I managed to gather some energy to try to destabilise him. But he came back into the match very quickly because I was not consistent enough."
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