x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Murray's march continues

The defending champion Andy Murray beat Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-3 to advance to the second round of the St Petersburg Open.

Britain's Andy Murray serves against Viktor Troicki, beating his opponent 6-3 6-3 in the second round of the St Petersburg Open.
Britain's Andy Murray serves against Viktor Troicki, beating his opponent 6-3 6-3 in the second round of the St Petersburg Open.

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA // The defending champion Andy Murray beat Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-3 today to advance to the second round of the St Petersburg Open, while Nikolay Davydenko pulled out with a wrist injury. The sixth-ranked Russian sustained the injury yesterday and said he was unlikely to be able to play in Paris next week. "Even if the inflammation and pain pass, I will have no time for preparation," Davydenko said.

Davydenko said that if there was no pain by the end of the next week he would have two weeks to prepare for the season-ending Masters event in Shanghai. Murray, fresh from winning the Madrid Masters on Sunday for his fourth title this season, broke Troicki in the fifth and eighth games of the first set. The fourth-ranked Briton had an early break in the second set and saved the only break point he faced in the eighth game.

"He (Troicki) made a lot of mistakes on his forehand today," Murray said. "I haven't seen him play so much, so I didn't really have too many tactics, but for my game I tried to serve well and change the speed of the ball a lot." It was the eighth consecutive win for the US Open finalist, including two victories in Britain's Davis Cup World Group play-offs against Austria in September. Murray, who also won titles in Doha, Marseille and Cincinnati, next plays Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

Earlier, Fernando Verdasco beat wild card Karlis Lejnieks 6-1 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals. The third-seeded Verdasco had little trouble against the 20-year-old Latvian, the lowest-ranked player in the field at No. 664 and playing in his first ATP event. The Spaniard ranked 15th, a runner-up to Murray in this event last year, had two breaks in each set to close-out the match in 65 minutes. In the quarters, Verdasco will face the German veteran Rainer Schuettler, who defeated Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-3 6-3.

In other first-round action, the Kazakhstan qualifier Andrey Golubev served 19 aces to beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium, 6-1 6-4. *AP