Murray too strong for Granollers

Andy Murray, pictured, defeated Marcel Granollers 6-2 7-5 (AP)

Andy Murray, pictured, defeated Marcel Granollers 6-2 7-5 (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Andy Murray came through testing conditions to reach the third round of the Rome Masters with a straight-sets win over Marcel Granollers.

Strong winds at the Foro Italico in the Italian capital troubled both players, but it was Murray who adapted to win 6-2 7-5 and set up a last-16 clash with either Jurgen Melzer.

The Scot won four games in a row to clinch the first set with ease and although Granollers put up more of a fight thereafter seventh seed Murray was able to rise to the occasion, and he remains on course for a quarter-final showdown with reigning champion and world number one Rafael Nadal.

In a strange twist of fate, Murray, who was given a first-round bye, was paired with Granollers at the same stage of this event last year, and the encounter was remarkable because the two-time grand slam champion retired mid-match with a back injury which forced him to miss the French Open.

Murray's problems with his back are well documented and there are still question marks over his movement on clay courts, but he was rarely troubled as he gained a measure of revenge over Granollers.

He went on the attack almost from the off and had the opportunity to break his opponent in the second game, but Granollers reeled off four points in a row.

The Spaniard was then broken in the sixth game, however, with Murray putting himself in the ascendancy with a backhand winner following a long rally where both players were hampered by the wind.

Murray then sealed the first set in clinical fashion after breaking Granollers to love.

While some sloppy play gave Granollers a way back in at the start of the second set, the world number 31 could not take advantage and was broken for the third successive time.

Murray squandered the chance to make it four in a row but he was never troubled on his own serve, winning three straight games to love at one point.

He sensed an opportunity at 6-5 ahead and although Granollers saved a first match point, a long forehand gave Murray victory in an hour and 25 minutes.

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