Murray quick off the mark as top five place beckons

Andy Murray, who hopes to emulate his friend Novak Djokovic by climbing into the world's top five this year, earned some extra New Year's day celebrations by racing through his opening match of the Qatar Open in little more than an hour.

The third-seeded Murray beat Olivier Rochus 6-0, 6-2 with a display which suggested he is gaining both in service power and in his liking for taking the initiative earlier in the rally, both of which threatened to turn the match into a whitewash.

It was not until the 11th game that Rochus won one, and even then he was twice within two points of going 0-5 down before he did it.

It sparked a mini-revival, with the cornered underdog letting rip some snarling drives and pursuing a policy of greater risk-taking which got him five times within a point of 3-4.

But it only delayed what had seemed inevitable from mid-way through the first set and Murray finished looking self-possessed and pleased with his general assertiveness.

This may partly be the result of the team of coaches and trainers he has just put together to take the place of Brad Gilbert, the high-profile American coach from whom the Scot split two months ago.

"It's difficult to travel for a long period with people if you are not getting on with them," Murray said. "With Miles [Maclagan, his coach here] I'm getting on good, but that's not the most important thing to have a buddy with you.

"You need someone who's working hard and is going to tell you if you are doing something wrong, rather than telling you that you know everything is going well every day. If you are only putting in 50-60 per cent effort that's not what I wanted.

"I think Miles when he was playing was a pretty hard worker himself and his game-style kind of showed that."

Murray imposed himself fiercely at the start of the match, attacking Rochus's second serve and delivering three service winners in the game which consolidated the break.

It was followed by two aces in Murray's next service game and by two more strident winning first deliveries as he closed out the first set in only 25 minutes. After that he had Rochus over-stretching to keep in contention. The unseeded player delivered three double faults to go a break down immediately in the second set, and then began to over-hit more from the baseline too.

He looked very dispirited after failing to win his serve for a fifth time in a game of three deuces, and it was to his credit that he managed to find some raking drives to make a contest of it in the final 15 minutes.

The shot which more than anything prevented a revival was when Rochus had a chance to drive the ball, inside the service box, past his opponent to reach 3-4, only for Murray to find the anticipation and the reflexes to move the right way and make a point blank winning volley.

Shortly afterwards Murray was departing in triumph, with a second round match in prospect against Rainer Schuttler, the former world No 4 from Germany, who beat Andrei Pavel, the former top- 20 Romanian, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.

* Andy Murray's rival and friend, the Spanish world No 2 Rafael Nadal, overcame late resistance to reach the second round of the Chennai Open in India yesterday, but finally defeated Mathieu Montcourt 6-2, 6-4 after the tenacious French baseliner broke his serve and engaged him in long rallies in the final stages.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
Sport
football
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
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.

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us