Murray turns on power to tame the 'Beast of Belarus'

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The Independent Online

Britain's Andy Murray continued his fine recent form here yesterday with a slick victory over Max Mirnyi, of Belarus, 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round at the St Petersburg Open.

The 16th-ranked Murray broke the player known as the "Beast of Belarus" twice in each set to win in just 52 minutes. "It's very difficult against him because he serves well and puts a lot of pressure by coming to the net," the British No 1 said. "But today I served well and returned well, and I got in front of him early and he wasn't able to rush me. "

Mirnyi said Murray "surpassed me in all aspects today. He has neutralised my attacking game with passing shots and there were no doubts about who deserved to be winner of the match," he said.

Earlier, the defending champion, Mario Ancic, of Croatia, defeated Nicolas Lapentti, of Ecuador, 6-4, 6-1. After trading breaks early on, Ancic made a decisive break in the ninth game of the first set. He then won four consecutive games in the second set.

Ancic, who has missed most of the season after injuring his shoulder in February, is finding his form. Playing for the first time since August, he has reached the quarter-finals in Stockholm and Madrid in the last two weeks.

Meanwhile, in Basle, Roger Federer found himself in danger of a rare second successive defeat before recovering to beat Germany's Michael Berrer 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the opening round of the Swiss Indoors.

Following his surprise loss to David Nalbandian in Sunday's Madrid Masters final, the world No 1 had seemed back to his ferocious best as he ripped through the opening set.

But Federer then lost the second set having gone 4-0 down and in the third was helped when Berrer double-faulted at break point to fall 4-2 behind.

"It's almost laughable that I have to explain why I lost a set," said Federer. "I'm sure I'll play better in the second round."