Murray prolongs his hold over Montanes as Spaniard crumbles

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray maintained his stranglehold over Albert Montanes yesterday with a 7-5, 6-3 victory in the second round of the China Open in Beijing. The British No 1 has now faced Montanes four times and has yet to concede a set to the Spaniard.

Yesterday's straight-sets triumph secured the Scot a quarter-final berth against either Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic or Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine. The first four games went with serve but the Scot was stunned in game five when Montanes capitalised on his fourth break point with a stunning cross-court winner.

Murray squandered a gilt-edged break-back opportunity at 3-4 and found himself serving to stay in the set in the following game, but held nervelessly to force his 29-year-old opponent to serve it out.

With the prospect of taking his first set against Murray looming large, the errors crept in for Montanes and a forehand winner on the second seed's third break point got the match back on serve. From there, Murray did not look back. He breezed through his next service game and then broke his rival for a second time to secure the set 7-5.

Montanes raced back into contention by winning the first two games of the second set, but that was as good as it got for the world No 24, as the Murray reeled off five straight games to put himself in control. Montanes held to love to force Murray to serve out, which he did with little difficulty.

Murray said the match had not been as straightforward as the scoreline suggested. "I was leaving the ball pretty short, so he was able to dictate a lot of the points," he said. "So that's why I struggled a bit early on, but I played a bit better towards the end. I was more solid than he was, especially in the second set, and that was probably the main difference."

Also at the China Open, Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki has captured the women's tennis No 1 ranking, replacing Serena Williams. Wozniacki accomplished the feat with a 6-3, 6-2 win yesterday over Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. The rise to No 1 comes in a season when Wozniacki reached the quarter-finals at the French Open and the US Open semi-finals. Wozniacki has 11 career tour singles titles under her belt and is the top seed in Beijing. Williams pulled out of the event due to injury.