Andy Murray unconvincing in beating Jurgen Melzer at the Valencia Open

Murray beats Jurgen Melzer 6-3 6-3

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray opened his Valencia Open challenge with a 6-3 6-3 win over Jurgen Melzer, although his performance failed to inspire in the Spanish city.

In a match littered with poor serves and unforced errors, the third seed, who won the title here in 2009, just about held the edge to progress through to a second-round meeting with Italy's Fabio Fognini.

Murray is playing in his fifth consecutive tournament, having won in Vienna last weekend, and is looking to secure his place at the ATP World Tour Finals next month, but will have to improve significantly if he is to better the result of rival David Ferrer, who is the top seed in Spain and aiming to bump the Scot from his current eighth place in the race for London.

Murray, who came into the contest with a 6-0 head-to-head record against the Austrian, looked settled in the early stages and was a break up in just the third game when Melzer put a weak forehand into the net.

However, his serve then went off the boil and a double fault from the Scot gave his Austrian opponent an immediate break back, although Melzer's wide return in game five again put Murray in the driving seat.

Murray battled once more to hold his next service game but this time the outcome was more favourable as the third seed took a 4-2 lead.

And although the world number 10 continued to perform below par, the occasional flash of brilliance - coupled with an ill-timed and costly double fault from Melzer - saw the Scot secure the opening set in 41 minutes.

It was Melzer who drew first blood in the second set, breaking in the opening game with a tidy forehand across the court.

It was not a match for tennis purists, with too many unforced errors and ugly shots from both sides of the net, and it was no surprise when Murray broke straight back after Melzer fired wide.

An upturn in form then looked on the cards when Murray won his next two service games to love, and his fortunes improved further in game six when he fought back from 0-40 to break once more.

Melzer's temper spilled over and the world number 121 smashed his racquet frame in frustration, earning a warning from the umpire.

Yet the Briton could not hold on to his advantage, and another poor forehand found the net to leave the set back on serve.

The topsy-turvy nature of things continued as a lazy, under-hit shot from Melzer gifted his opponent one more break and left Murray serving for the match.

And although he did it the hard way, saving two break points, the Briton eventually emerged the winner thanks to another error from Melzer.

PA

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