Murray made to work before progressing

 

Andy Murray showed no sign of the back injury that has troubled him recently as he advanced past Paul-Henri Mathieu at the BNP Paribas Open in Paris tonight.

Murray returned to the court for the first time since he cited a back problem as the reason for pulling out on the eve of last week's event in Basle.

The US Open champion moved freely in his second-round match as he was at times made to sweat before eventually overpowering his 30-year-old French rival 7-5 6-3 in one hour 33 minutes.

Mathieu, a wildcard entrant, pushed Murray throughout the opening set, but succumbed thereafter before conceding the match with a double fault.

"I felt okay. I served pretty well, but I struggled a bit on the return especially at the beginning of the match," Murray told Sky Sports.

"It's hard to say (how long it will take to return to full match sharpness). I've been playing very well in practice and felt confident today, but when the match started it's different conditions.

"I struggled with my timing. I've never played my best tennis at this tournament, but I'd like to change that.

"You'd hope after three or four matches you are starting to play better."

Murray will next meet qualifier Jerzy Janowicz, who he beat in the Davis Cup a couple of years ago, after the Pole upset 13th seed Marin Cilic yesterday.

That will come as a relief to Murray who was solid rather than spectacular in his first match since losing the final in Shanghai to Novak Djokovic at the start of the month.

He was forced to battle in a competitive opening set that lasted just shy of an hour.

The Scot was frustrated in the opening exchanges as Mathieu looked the more comfortable in reaching 5-5. But with the set on the line Murray found an extra gear at the right time.

After breaking Mathieu to love to make it 6-5, he was still made to sweat for the set as the Frenchman grabbed a couple of break-back points.

Murray coolly averted the danger, however, firing down and ace before Mathieu bunted a second serve long, to allow the world number three to close the set out soon afterwards.

After keeping pace with Murray for the best part of an hour Mathieu started to lose his way as he was immediately broken in the second set.

Murray's passing shot was initially called long but, after asking for a replay, he was handed the opening game before a second break made it 4-1.

Mathieu briefly threatened a comeback when he pulled back a break but Murray stepped it up again to go through.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
football
News
people
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot