Murray masters Mathieu in Paris
Andy Murray defeated home favourite Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
World number three Murray had not played a competitive match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Shanghai Masters coming into the Paris event, but showed few signs of rustiness during his straight-sets success triumph over home favourite Mathieu.
Murray, who will play Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz in the last 16, will fancy his chances of adding to his Masters titles haul after Djokovic's shock defeat to Sam Querrey earlier in the day left him as the highest-ranked player left in the tournament.
The 25-year-old Scot failed to open up a single break point opportunity against the Mathieu serve until the 11th game of the opening set, but, after playing his best return game of the match, he opened up three and took the first one on offer with an audacious backhand lob.
Mathieu had two chances to break immediately back, but Murray regrouped and served out the set.
An instant break at the start of the second set saw Murray assume total control and a quickfire win looked guaranteed when the US Open champion broke again for a 4-1 lead.
But, roared on by a partisan home crowd, Mathieu did at least claim one service break, only for Murray to have the last say with a break which sealed his place in the last 16.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Murray said: "I felt okay, I served pretty well, struggled a bit on return, especially at the beginning. I struggled a bit with my timing as well but it got a lot better towards the end.
"I've been playing very well in practice and felt quite confident coming into today but when the match started the conditions are much different. I've never played my best tennis at this tournament and I'd like to change that.
"I played against him in the Davis Cup a few years ago, he was maybe 18, 19 at the time, he's 6ft 7 got a big, big serve and takes a lot of chances. I'll have to return a lot better than I did tonight."
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