Murray holds nerve to see off Almagro

Wed May 7, 2014 5:03pm EDT
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MADRID (Reuters) - Andy Murray showed plenty of mental strength to come through 6-1 1-6 6-4 against Nicolas Almagro on Wednesday to keep on track his bid to win the Madrid Open.

The seventh-seeded Scot returned to singles action having taken a break in an inconsistent year that has seen him fall down the rankings.

Earlier, Rafa Nadal launched the defense of his Madrid Open title by breezing past Juan Monaco 6-1 6-0 to rediscover his touch on his favored clay after surprise exits in his last two tournaments.

The world No 1 went out in the quarter-finals at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona last month, but his extra quality shone through in his second-round match against the 56th-ranked Monaco.

Murray made a storming start against Almagro, with two breaks of serve on his way to winning the first set.

He outplayed the Spaniard with his power and speed around the court but the second set was very different, as Almagro found his range and Murray's head went down.

Almagro, who knocked Nadal out of the Barcelona Open, looked in charge but it was a much tighter final set, in which Murray rediscovered his consistency to win.

"It was a tough match, he was going for bombs with every shot and huge serves. He was ripping the ball from the back of the court," Murray told reporters.

Admitting that he does not find it easy on clay, he added: "I have been struggling on it in the last few years, physically. It's a question of keeping on top of the recovery. The aim is to stay fit for the French Open and the next few weeks are very important."   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain eyes the ball before returning it to Nicolas Almagro of Spain during their match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament May 7, 2014. REUTER/Susana Vera