Murray cruises into second round
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:30
Chela, a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros in 2004, is a supposed specialist on the surface but he could not live with the British number one, who claimed a convincing 6-2 6-2 6-1 on Suzanne Lenglen court.
Given his increasing confidence on clay, the ease of this win and the benign draw he has received, Murray will be confident of making the second week here for the first time, which he has admitted is his first objective for the tournament.
The Scot, 22, has reached two clay quarter-finals this year and he looked very comfortable against Chela, who was once 15th in the world but is now not even in the top 200 because of a recent eight-month spell out through injury.
Murray’s serve was broken in the first game, but he recovered superbly by winning four games on the spin to go on and claim the set in 38 minutes.
The third seed dug deep from 0-40 down to save four break points to hold the first game of the second set. He did not look back and settled into an impressive rhythm, a nonchalant drop shot and a steepling lob helping him to a break and a 2-0 lead.
Serving for the set at 5-1, Murray put in a sloppy game and was broken but he put that right the very next game, breaking back to take the set at the fourth time of asking.
It was beginning to become a procession as Murray closed in on his fourth win over Chela in five meetings, and the Scot – a winner of three singles titles in 2009, all on hard court – raced into a 3-0 lead in set three thanks to a break to love and two holds.
Chela stopped the rot to at least salvage some pride but Murray was in remorseless mood, crashing a forehand return down the line to break and go 5-1 up and then holding serve with ease to clinch the match in one hour and 43 minutes.
Murray, who hit 55 winners, can now look forward to a second-round meeting with either Germany’s Mischa Zverev or Potito Starace, of Italy – but he will be thinking beyond that. Rafael Nadal, the world number one and reigning four-time champion here, could be a semi-final opponent for the Briton.