Murray eases to win
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:22
The 21-year-old saw off the Frenchman 6-3 6-2 at Indian Wells in only his second singles match since withdrawing from the Dubai Open quarter-finals last month with a virus.
Murray has played down his chances of claiming the title here, but he showed signs he is returning to top form against an erratic Mathieu.
The 27-year-old started poorly by losing his serve in the first set and went 2-0 down when Murray held his own.
The Scotsman faced break point at 3-2 up when he put a simple backhand into the net and Mathieu seized the opportunity to level, forcing Murray into another unforced error.
Murray immediately made amends by breaking Mathieu in the next game, and went on to take the next two – and the first set – with a combination of powerful groundstrokes and deft finesse.
There was a touch of fortune on set point. Murray clipped the net cord which drew Mathieu into the net, and then he eased a cross-court backhand past the stranded Frenchman.
Mathieu also had moments of magic – the highlight of which was an exquisite lob on the way to holding serve in the sixth game of the second set to stay in the match.
Those moments were too few and far between, however, as Murray sauntered to a 5-2 lead, and the Scot then broke Mathieu again to see out a straightforward victory.