Andy Murray wins with ease at Roland Garros

 

There were no real alarms for Andy Murray as he eased into the second round of the French Open with a 6-1 7-5 6-0 victory over Tatsuma Ito of Japan this evening.

Having had to wait three days to kick off his campaign at Roland Garros, the fourth seed clearly did not want to hang around on Court Suzanne Lenglen and he won the first five games in less than 20 minutes.

Ito improved significantly in the second set and had points for a 5-3 lead but he could not take them and in the end Murray ran out a comfortable winner to set up a second-round match against Finn Jarkko Nieminen.

Troubled by a back problem, Murray has not been in great form during the clay-court season but he was positive about his fitness heading into the tournament and was a huge favourite to beat Ito.

The 24-year-old Japanese player is at a career-high ranking of 68 but has been competing mostly on hard courts in the Far East and was making his main-draw debut at the French Open.

It did not get off to an auspicious start as a relaxed-looking Murray broke serve at the third attempt in Ito's first service game, and then repeated the feat two games later.

The underdog at least avoided a bagel and managed to save three set points, one of them with a brilliant backhand return, before floating a backhand wide to hand Murray the set after 25 minutes.

The Scot, whose only previous meeting with Ito came in a doubles match in Tokyo last year, began the second set in the same vein, reeling off eight straight points.

But Ito, who was sticking to his pre-match promise to play his attacking game, gradually began to settle and, helped by his opponent, broke back to level at 2-2.

Two double faults and a backhand drilled long gave the Japanese player the game, and he suddenly began to look like he could cause Murray significant problems.

Ito was launching into his groundstrokes and he brought up three more break points in the eighth game but this time Murray held firm.

The Scot regained a measure of control but he continued to make life a little difficult for himself with three backhand errors as he let slip a 0-40 lead at 5-5.

However, Ito netted a simple forehand to give him another chance and this time Murray did prevail when his opponent hit a forehand long.

Ito was mixing blazing winners with poor mistakes, and in the end that cost him as Murray served out the set to love.

That surely was Ito's chance of an upset gone, and that feeling only increased at the start of the third when he netted a backhand to hand Murray another break.

The Japanese player looked resigned to his fate and the errors flowed from his racquet as Murray racked up the games, finishing the match on a run of nine in a row.

Far greater tests await if the 25-year-old is to match his achievement of 12 months ago of reaching the semi-finals, starting with world number 48 Nieminen on Thursday.

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