Murray battles through in Madrid

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray progressed to the third round of the Madrid Open tonight after beating Gilles Simon in three sets.

Murray, who received a first-round bye as the fourth seed, claimed his sixth win in seven meetings with the Frenchman after prevailing 6-4 3-6 6-0 in two hours and 23 minutes.

Although both players made plenty of unforced errors in the match - 79 between them - Murray will be pleased to have successfully built on his improved showing in Monte Carlo last month having missed the recent Barcelona Open with an elbow injury.

Murray went into Monte Carlo on the back of a dismal run having failed to win a single set in Rotterdam, Indian Wells and Miami following his Australian Open final defeat, but the world number four reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual winner Rafael Nadal.

That was Murray's last competitive match due to his elbow problem - although he lost with brother Jamie in the doubles in Madrid last night - but the 23-year-old enjoyed a winning return to singles action today and will now face Thomaz Bellucci in the next round.

Murray, who beat Simon 6-3 6-3 in Monte Carlo, enjoyed the ideal start today as he broke the world number 20 in the first game of the match, but Simon immediately hit back to level the scores.

The next two games went with serve before Murray fashioned four break points, but he could not take any of them as Simon held on.

In the eighth game Murray found his own serve under threat and had to save two break points before winning the game with a cross-court backhand volley.

Buoyed by that escape, Murray raced into a 0-40 lead in the next game and although he missed the first break point, the fourth seed made no mistake with the next point courtesy of a good volley after making a rare approach into the net.

That proved the decisive moment of the opening set as Murray made the most of his two set points in the next game to go 1-0 ahead.

The first seven games of the second set went with serve before Simon gained the crucial break and served out to win the set and level the match.

That was a setback for Murray, but he responded in some style by winning the final set 6-0.

Having broken Simon in the second game to go 2-0 ahead, Murray faced a huge battle to hold his serve in the third game, but did so before claiming two more breaks to claim the set and the match.