Defending champion Murray finds his range at last to ease past Malisse

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray began the defence of his Rogers Cup title with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Xavier Malisse last night in the second round of the Masters 1000 event.

The fourth seed, who received a bye in the first round, will play Gaël Monfils in round three in Toronto after a match in which he did not have things all his own way.

The Scot had to fight back from a break down in the first set as Malisse found his range with his forehand, but the Belgian could not keep up his level and Murray won 10 of the last 12 games.

The 23-year-old, who needs a good run at the tournament to avoid losing his world No 4 spot, began well and had a break point in Malisse's first service game. But he could not take it and soon Malisse moved 3-1 ahead.

Murray had three more break points in the sixth game but he was struggling to hit winners. The Belgian served for the set at 5-4 but this time Murray did find some magic just when he needed it. From 30-15, a stunning cross-court forehand and then a brilliant defensive point took the fourth seed to break point, and this time Malisse cracked. A poor game from Malisse at 5-6 ended with a double-fault that gifted Murray, playing his second tournament following his split with coach Miles Maclagan, the first set.

Malisse held his own at the start of the second set but it was just a matter of time before Murray took control.