Murray off to winning start in Rome

Murray impressed the centre court crowd in his straight sets victory. Photo: Italian Insider

ROME – Andy Murray continued his excellent recent form by recording his 10th successive win on clay over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy at the Italian Open. The Briton has entered the tournament off the back of wins in Munich and at last week’s Spanish Open where he beat Rafa Nadal in the final.

 Just a day after finally confirming his entry for the Italian Open, Murray showed no signs of fatigue from his exploits in Spain, brushing Chardy aside in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. He will now go on to face either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or David Goffin in round three.

 Elsewhere in the draw, the “King of Clay” Nadal bounced back from the defeat he suffered at his home championship to bulldozer Marcel Ilhan, dropping only two games in his 6-2, 6-0 win. Top seed Novak Djokovic was made to work hard for a victory over Nadal’s fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, but eventually prevailed 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 and the second seeded Roger Federer is due to play his second round match during Wednesday’s evening session.

 In the women’s section of the draw, Victoria Azarenka, who struggled past Lucie Hradecka on Tuesday, overcame Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets (6-2, 7-6) in round two on Wednesday. There were also straight set victories for fan favourite Maria Sharapova and number one seed Serena Williams.

 These results have succeeded in setting up an enthralling prospect for the rest of the week as tennis’ big hitters all remain in contention. Given the Italian Open provides the last realistic opportunity for the players to lay down a marker ahead of the year’s second Grand Slam at Roland Garros, the pressure is likely to intensify ahead of Sunday’s finals.