Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Murray Marches Past Ito

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Murray Marches Past Ito

Article excerpt

Byline: Eleanor Crooks

ANDY Murray was content with his start to what he hopes will be another long run at the French Open. The world number four was a big favourite to beat Japanese debutant Tatsuma Ito and his only moments of concern yesterday came in the second set when the 24-year-old hit a hot streak.

But Murray (pictured right) survived and raced through the third set to win 6-1 7-5 6-0 and set up a second-round clash with Finnish world number 48 Jarkko Nieminen.

"It was pretty good," said Murray. "He played well for a five or six-game stretch in that second set and I played one bad game on my serve. The first and third sets were very comfortable. The second set could have been, but I obviously played a bad game. For a first-round match in a slam, it's a good start."

Murray had to wait until the third day of the tournament to begin his campaign, and he certainly wasted no time once he finally got onto Court Suzanne Lenglen, racing through the first five games.

Ito is ranked at a career-high 68th in the world but has been playing mostly on hard courts in the Far East on the secondtier Challenger circuit.

Murray looked relaxed and in complete control but, from 2-0 down in the second set, Ito suddenly began playing the attacking tennis he had promised, and a poor game from the fourth seed allowed him to level.

Last year's semi-finalist was in a real hole when Ito got to 0-40 in the eighth game but this time Murray saved all three break points and gained the crucial break on his fourth chance three games later. From there things became a lot more straightforward as Ito returned to his error-strewn ways and Murray made it nine straight games to clinch victory.

The world number four felt he had handled Ito's purple patch well, saying: "If you concentrate on your side of the court and don't give up too many free points yourself, then it's fine.

"If you're making mistakes and playing a patchy match yourself, then it can become difficult. It can be very up and down, but I didn't do that today.

"I just tried to give a bit more height on the ball. With his game style, he's quite a flat hitter of the ball. …

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