Rogers Cup: Murray made to dig deep to see off the threat of Malisse
Andy Murray began the defence of his Rogers Cup title with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Xavier Malisse last night in the second round of the Masters 1000 event.
The fourth seed, who received a bye in the first round, will play Gael Monfils in round three in Toronto after a match in which he certainly did not have things all his own way.
The Scot had to fight back from a break down in the first set as Malisse found his range with his forehand but the Belgian could not keep up his level and Murray won 10 of the last 12 games.
The 23-year-old, who needs a good run at the tournament to avoid losing his world number four spot, began well and had a break point in Malisse's first service game.
But he could not take it and he was made to regret that when a wayward backhand helped his opponent move 3-1 ahead.
The Belgian served for the set at 5-4 but this time Murray did find some magic just when he needed it. From 30-15, a stunning cross-court forehand and then a brilliant defensive point took the fourth seed to break point, and this time Malisse cracked.
Murray admitted he found it tough to cope with both the conditions and his opponent.
He said: “It was difficult. The first match in any tournament is tough. The conditions were very warm, very different to LA where I played last.
“The ball was bouncing very, very high and Malisse was hitting some huge forehands and taking the ball very early.
“But I started playing a bit higher over the net in the second set and towards the end of the first set and that definitely helped. He made a few more errors and he was finding it a little bit harder to go for his shots. But it was a tough match.”
Murray is expecting another difficult contest against unpredictable Frenchman Monfils, who is the 15th seed in Canada.
“It will be a fun match,” he said. “He's probably the best athlete that's ever played the game.”