Murray hits 145mph in fast start to title defence

Andy Murray's movements in the world rankings list have been almost exclusively in one direction until now, but the 19-year-old Scot could be in unfamiliar territory after this week.

After winning the SAP Open in San Jose last year, Murray is back in California trying to retain the 175 ranking points which came with the victory. Currently at a career-best 13th in the Association of Tennis Professionals list, which operates on a rolling 12-months system, he could drop as many as three places if he does not retain the only title he has won at senior level.

The No 3 seed got off to a fine start in defence of his crown, beating America's Kevin Kim, the world No 125, 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday night. In last night's scheduled second round, he was due to face Denmark's Kristian Pless, the world No 83.

Murray hit a career-best 145mph serve and 11 aces to beat Kim in just 57 minutes. "I've been working on my serve during the off-season," he said afterwards. "My serve-and-volley game is much stronger," he added.

The Scot was broken when serving for the first set at 5-1 but did not waste his second opportunity and overwhelmed Kim with his superior shot-making in the second set.

"I hadn't been hitting the ball that well in practice because I'd been doing a lot of fitness work, but I think I played well," Murray said, adding that he felt much stronger since adopting a new training programme. "The court was probably 40 per cent faster than last year, which I wasn't expecting. I'd probably like it a little bit slower, but I play pretty well indoors."

Victory over Pless would earn Murray a quarter-final against either Simon Greul or Hyung-Taik Lee, with the top seed, Andy Roddick, who lost to Murray in last year's semi-finals, his scheduled opponent in the last four. Roddick was due to play Frank Dancevic last night, while James Blake, seeded to meet Marat Safin in the other semi-final, was up against Igor Kunitsyn.

Gustavo Kuerten, three times a winner of the French Open, won his first match for 18 months when he beat Italy's Filippo Volandri, the No 7 seed, in straight sets in a tournament at Costa da Sauipe in his native Brazil. Kuerten, 30, has had hip surgery and has also been recovering from muscular problems.

The Stella Artois tournament at Queen's Club has scrapped plans to adopt a round-robin format this summer. The event, which takes place pre-Wimbledon, had wanted to become one of the Association of Tennis Professionals' guinea-pigs for the round-robin system, but has decided that it would be impractical.

In order to fit in all the matches, tournament organisers wanted to start this year's event a day early on Sunday 10 June, but the ATP has an agreement to avoid any clashes with the French Open, which ends on the same day. With bad weather always a fear, and a tournament where many of the top singles players also like to compete in the doubles, it was decided to revert to a conventional knock-out format.

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power