• French Open

Murray overcomes nerves to win on return

ESPN staff
May 27, 2014
Andy Murray saw off Andrey Golubev in four sets © Getty Images

Andy Murray overcame his nerves to make a winning return to Roland Garros as he sealed a hard-fought 6-1 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory against Andrey Golubev.

After missing last year's French Open with a back injury, Murray was made to toil for victory against the world No.53 of Kazakhstan.

Two sets and a break up, Murray was pegged back with Golubev taking the third set before the Scot rallied to wrap up the win.

Murray's last appearance at the tournament was a four-set quarter-final defeat to David Ferrer in 2012 and he was yet to win his Olympic gold medal and US Open and Wimbledon titles.

The Scot admitted he felt nervous heading onto court ahead of his return, saying afterwards: "I missed last year so I was a little bit nervous before I went out there.

"Last year was tough for me. I didn't play much and missed Roland Garros with my back. It was very tough watching it on TV.

"I've been moving fairly well the last couple of weeks but it's tricky to stick to tactics when it's windy. You have to play percentage tennis."

Murray's path to the semi-finals was potentially made easier by Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka's shock first-round exit last night, but the Scot played down the significance of the result.

"I didn't watch any of his [Wawrinka's] match but these tournaments are extremely tough to win, it's also very hard to win matches and be consistent all of the time," Murray said.

"It happens sometimes. I just have to concentrate on my matches and try and get through as many as I can. I'll have to wait and see if that result has any relevance to me because if I lose before the quarter-finals it has no relevance."

Still without a coach following his split from Ivan Lendl earlier this year, Murray was asked when he would finally make an appointment and quipped: "I'm trying but not many people want to work with me! It's not that easy, so hopefully soon."

Murray will next face Marinko Matosevic after he came back from 5-1 down in the fourth set to beat Dustin Brown 7-6(5) 6-4 6-7(1) 7-5 for his first grand slam win in 13 attempts.

The Scot was made to work for his place in the second round, too, though it looked like it would be plain sailing in the early stages.

He raced through the first set in just 33 minutes and hardly put a foot wrong. Two consecutive breaks gave Murray a 4-0 lead but Golubev broke back immediately. However Murray did likewise, breaking with a forehand on the run before closing out the set.

But the Wimbledon champion met with greater resistance from Golubev in the second. Murray broke first but was pegged back from 4-2 to 4-4, with the Scot going long on a forehand at 30-40. Golubev then moved 40-30 up on his serve but Murray battled back to deuce before breaking for 5-4 and duly served out the second set.

A frantic opening to the third set saw five breaks in the first seven games. The pair swapped breaks immediately with Golubev holding and breaking again to lead 3-1. Murray broke straight back but couldn't hold, his first serve deserting him as Golubev went 4-2 up before eventually serving out the set.

However Murray got back on track immediately and took the first three games of the fourth, with the rest of the set staying on serve.

Earlier on, there were no problems for David Ferrer as the fifth seed swept Igor Sijsling aside 6-4 6-3 6-1.

Elsewhere, home favourites Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils booked their places in the second round. Gasquet eased past Bernard Tomic 6-2 6-2 7-5 while Monfils saw off Victor Hanescu 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Grigor Dimitrov, who reached the semi-finals in Rome earlier this month, was dumped out 6-4 7-5 7-6(4) by Ivo Karlovic. Dimitrov has never fared well at Roland Garros, getting only to the third round in 2013.

Tommy Haas' bid to become the oldest man in the French Open's second round since Jimmy Connors in 1991 ended after less than a set because of pain in his right shoulder.

The 36-year-old Haas, who was seeded 16th at Roland Garros, stopped playing while leading 5-2 in the opening set of his first-round match against world No.335 Jurgen Zopp of Estonia.

Nicolas Almagro, the 21st seed, was also eliminated on Tuesday, retiring at 5-0 down in the first set against American Jack Sock.

Lleyton Hewitt surrendered a one-set lead to go down in four against Carlos Berlocq, who triumphed 3-6 6-2 6-1 6-4, while Andreas Seppi saw off Santiago Giraldo 6-3 7-5 6-3.

David Ferrer eased past Igor Sijsling into the second round on Tuesday © Getty Images
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