Andy Murray's bid to retain the Qatar Open title got off to a solid start as he put in a workmanlike performance to beat Spain's Albert Montanes 6-2 6-4 in the first round of the tournament.
Murray displayed only fleeting glimpses of the form he showed to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to clinch the World Tennis Championship title in Abu Dhabi last week, but broke his opponent's serve four times in a comfortable victory.
In front of a sparse crowd, Murray wasted two chances to break Montanes' serve in the first game but the Spaniard double-faulted in the third to give the Scot his first break.
The British number one's play was sluggish to start with but a combination of clever drop shots from Murray and unforced errors from his opponent allowed the US Open finalist to break Montanes again to take a 5-2 lead.
The Spaniard was then allowed a chance back into the match by Murray, whose untidy play gifted the world number 43 four break points. Montanes failed to take advantage, though, and the Scot clinched the set 6-2 after his opponent sent a forehand long.
The second set began with Murray immediately breaking Montanes' serve before closing out his first service game to love with a sliced drop shot to take a 2-0 lead.
Murray broke again in the third before hitting some powerful shots from the baseline to take his fifth straight game and move into a 4-0 lead.
The Scot then became frustrated, however, and started to make mistakes as he allowed his opponent to win three successive games before Murray held his serve to make it 5-3.
Montanes held again, leaving Murray to serve out to love to set up a second-round tie with Germany's Philipp Petzschner.