Andy Murray advances in French Open

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Andy Murray avoided the fate of fellow world number one Angelique Kerber by coming through his first-round match at the French Open in four sets.

The Briton beat Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-0.

Defeat for Murray would have seen both top seeds exit a Grand Slam in round one for the first time in the open era.

Fellow Briton Johanna Konta earlier lost to world number 109 Hsieh Su-Wei, while Kyle Edmund takes on Gastao Elias.

Murray goes on to face Slovakia’s Martin Klizan, the world number 50.

 

Andy Murray has struggled for form and fitness in 2016 and arrived in Paris apparently more vulnerable than ever, but the first hurdle was cleared despite a patchy start.

Kuznetsov, the world number 73, broke the Murray serve four times – twice in taking the second set – which prompted some self-mocking sarcastic applause from the Briton.

The contest was very much on at one set all, but a moment of inspiration turned things in Murray’s favour early in the third.

Kuznetsov had him chasing down a lob, seemingly hopelessly, only for the Scot to send up a towering response over his shoulder that dropped just inside the baseline.

The Russian could only fire his smash into the net, drawing a huge roar from the previously unengaged crowd, and Murray raced through eight straight points to take a grip on the match.

Glimmers of the player who dominated the second half of 2016 began to emerge – a familiar backhand pass rocketed down the line, a drop shot that left Kuznetsov stranded.

With coach Ivan Lendl typically poker-faced, it fell to the rest of Team Murray to gee up their man with shouts of “Come on Andy, let’s go!”

Andy Murray did just that in the fourth set, taking a decisive lead as he stretched his domination to eight straight games.

With the sun finally shining on a cooler day in Paris, Murray had the crowd on their feet with one magnificent drop shot on his way to sealing victory after two hours and 32 minutes.

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