05302017

Murray makes winning return in first match on clay

Andy Murray

Murray pulled out of March’s Miami Open because of an injury to his right elbow

Andy Murray made a winning return to the ATP Tour after a month out with an elbow injury, beating Gilles Muller at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The Briton, 29, was broken in the first game of the match but soon asserted his class en route to a 7-5 7-5 win.

The world number one last played on the ATP Tour in Indian Wells on 12 March, though he contested an exhibition match against Roger Federer on 10 April.

The Scot, handed a first-round bye, meets Albert Ramos-Vinolas next.

Murray, the top seed in Monte Carlo, gave up three double faults in the first game, then hit long to gift Luxembourg’s Muller the break.

In his first match of the year on clay, Murray continued to labour on his serve but somehow limited the damage, saving break point in the next game then fending off a set point at 3-5.

Muller’s failure to capitalise on Murray’s rustiness was then brutally exposed by the Scot, who broke the world number 28 in back-to-back games to claim the opening set, before recovering from an early break in the second to wrap up victory in one hour 55 minutes.

“It was a tough first match,” Murray told Sky Sports. “I started slow and wasn’t serving well at the start.

“I only started serving properly four, five days ago, so I knew it was going to take time but I didn’t expect to start the match serving like like that.”

Third seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland is also into round three after beating Czech Jiri Vesely 6-2 4-6 6-2. Fifth seed Marin Cilic and sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem also progressed.

Also on Wednesday, fourth seed Rafael Nadal begins his bid for a 10th Monte Carlo title against British number three Kyle Edmund.

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