“I’m feeling a lot better about tennis,” declared Murray

Andy Murray returned to the winners’ circle on Wednesday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters as he defeated Czech wild card Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-4 in his opening second-round match on Court Central. The 23-year-old Scot had not won a match since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January, suffering opening-round losses in Rotterdam (l. to Baghdatis), Indian Wells (l. to Young) and Miami (l. to Bogomolov Jr.) Murray returned to form with an impressive performance against the 32-year-old Stepanek, only faltering once as he surrendered a break advantage at 4-2 in the second set. He had been near flawless in the first set with three breaks of serve and only two points dropped on serve, and recovered well from his blip in the second set, breaking Stepanek again in the 10th game to claim victory in one hour and 32 minutes.

The Scot will next face one of three remaining Frenchmen, Gilles Simon, after the World No. 24 defeated Spain’s Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 33 minutes.

Seventh seed Jurgen Melzer and ninth seed Nicolas Almagro both came through testing encounters to set up a third-round meeting. Austria’s Melzer finished strongly to defeat Dutchman Robin Haase 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 31 minutes. Meanwhile, Almagro saved four match points to overcome Argentine qualifier Maximo Gonzalez 6-7(6), 7-5, 7-6(10). The Spaniard trailed 4-5, 0/40 in the third set before reeling off five straight points, and later saved another match point at 7-8 in the tie-break before triumphing in three hours.




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