Murray records second career win in Barcelona
BARCELONA ANDY Murray continued to apply polish to his claycourt tennis as the second seed reached the third round of the Barcelona Open with a comfortable defeat of Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday.
Murray, playing the tournament for only the third time, secured his second career win at the Real Club de Tenis in 78 minutes.
The world number four now stands 4-0 over Stakhovsky, a Ukrainian journeyman ranked 68th.
Murray is working to reach the form which took him to a Roland Garros semi-final a year ago, with hopes of doing even better.
He lost a Monte Carlo quarter-final last week to Tomas Berdych, who had to withdraw from this week’s competition in Spain.
The Scot ended with 16 winners and a dozen unforced errors, breaking on three of his five chances. He next plays either Santiago Giraldo of Colombia of Dutchman Robin Haase, a Monte Carlo quarter-finalist.
Murray improved to 2-3 in Barcelona and becomes the eighth player in the top 10 to register 20 match wins on the season, now standing 20-5.
The 2010 champion Fernando Verdasco also won a second-round encounter after a bye, with the Spanish ninth seed defeating Belgian Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-1.
Verdasco didn’t bother to defend his title in 2011 after a dispute with the organiser but is now back in the Spanish fold.
In the first round, Portugal’s Frederico Gil scored an upset as he took out 12th seed Marcel Granollers of Spain, 6-2, 6-2 while number 13 South African Kevin Anderson was untroubled by Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-2, 6-3.
Australian Bernard Tomic, seeded 15th, dominated fading Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-4 on to make a winning debut at the event.
Tomic, at 19 the youngest man in the field in the Catalan capital, spent 67 minutes in handing one-time prodigy Gulbis another ATP disappointment.
“I played well from the first game,” said the Australian. “I was able to play my game.
Six-time champion Rafael Nadal will attempt to pick up where he left off at the weekend after winning an eighth straight Monte Carlo title when he opens after a bye against compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, a winner over Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-3.