At 650m above sea level this is Europe's highest capital and players here at the Madrid Masters believe the balls move significantly faster through the thinner air. Andy Murray was also flying through the atmosphere at high speed last night, hurtling into the third round with a 66-minute demolition of Juan Ignacio Chela.
Murray described his first-round victory over Radek Stepanek the previous day as one of the best performances of his whole career and in some respects this 6-1, 6-3 win was even better. Whereas the 20-year-old Scot had taken time to establish his advantage over Stepanek, he ground Chela into the ground from the moment he belted a forehand winner on the first point.
Some of Murray's strokes were breathtaking: beautifully judged lobs, delicate drop shots and thumping winners on the run down both flanks. The bread-and-butter shots were just as impressive as he regularly cracked 130mph first serves and put Chela on the back foot with ferocious returns.
Murray was 5-0 up within 19 minutes, took the first set seven minutes later after only brief resistance and immediately took command of the second. He won the first point with a lovely drop shot and went on to break the world No 16 to love as the Argentinian, clearly feeling the pressure, served two double faults.
A further break gave Murray a 4-1 lead and his performance would have been little short of perfection but for a loose service game which gave Chela the chance to break back immediately. The Argentinian also had opportunities in Murray's next service game, but the Scot held on and sealed his win with yet another break of serve.
Asked to compare his performance with the previous day's, Murray said: "If I hadn't been broken and given him some chances it would have been better than yesterday, but I made a few mistakes, double-faulted a couple of times and gave him a small chance of getting back into the match, which I didn't do against Stepanek."
Murray now plays the winner of tonight's match between Rafael Nadal and Marcos Baghdatis. On this form the British No 1 should fear nobody and he said he would relish the chance of taking on Nadal. He gave one of his best performances of the year when losing in five sets to the world No 2 at the Australian Open in January and believes that his form in his last two matches is even better than it was at the start of the year.
Murray's scheduled meeting yesterday with Etienne de Villiers, executive chairman of the ATP, was postponed by 24 hours. He has been invited to meet De Villiers to discuss his comments last week about betting and match-fixing.
Those comments drew further criticism yesterday from Nikolay Davydenko, who said the Briton was "stupid". Murray, in discussing gambling and match-fixing in tennis, told the BBC that "everyone knows that it's going on". He later stressed that he had meant only that the revelations by some players that they had been invited to throw matches had become common knowledge. He said that he had never alleged that players had been involved in match-fixing or betting on tennis. Association of Tennis Professionals rules forbid players and their associates from gambling on their own sport. Davydenko, who pulled out of the Madrid tournament with an elbow injury, said: "I don't know why he [Murray] is talking about this. A guy talking about this is trying to be more famous than he is on the tour." The world No 4, who earned his place in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai by winning the Kremlin Cup last weekend, added: "We need questions from the ATP why he knows this or what he does know. That is why from him it is stupid to say something like that. This is something that normally nobody knows. I don't know how Murray's got this information. How does he know everything about gambling?"
Roger Federer began the defence of his title with a 7-6, 6-4 victory over Robby Ginepri. The first set was close, with no breaks, but the world No 1 took the tie-break 7-2 and made what proved to be a decisive break in the fifth game of the second set.Reuse content