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Andy Murray beats Andrey Kuznetsov to reach round two of the French Open

The Guardian logo The Guardian 31-05-2017 Guardian sport
Andy Murray celebrates after winning his first round match against Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov in four sets at the French Open. © AP Andy Murray celebrates after winning his first round match against Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov in four sets at the French Open.

After briefly losing his way, top seed Andy Murray battled his way past Andrey Kuznetsov to take his place in round two of the French Open, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

It was not a perfect start by the world No1, who began the match strongly only to go walkabout about in the second set, but he finished the match with real momentum, visibly growing in belief and authority. After an indifferent build-up to Roland Garros, Murray can look forward to a second round encounter with Slovakia’s Martin Klizan with improved confidence.

If Murray went into the match with questions surrounding his form and fitness, there seemed little prospect of the top seed going the same way as his female counterpart, Angelique Kerber, when he cantered to a 5-3 lead in the opening set.

However, Murray faltered when serving for the set and although he broke in the next game to seal the opener Kuznetsov, ranked 73, drew clearly drew encouragement from the wobble, breaking in the opening game of the second set.

A familiar pattern developed from there, Murray chuntering to himself as he grew increasingly exasperated. The Scot broke back immediately, but was broken again in the fifth and seventh games, the Russian establishing a cushion that enabled him to see out the set.

From there, though, Murray stepped on the accelerator, playing with an aggression and verve to which Kuznetsov had no answer, and by the end his opponent cut a forlorn figure.

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