TOP-RANKED Andy Murray returned from an elbow injury to beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters yesterday.
The right elbow injury prompted Murray to withdraw from last month’s Miami Open and he also missed Britain’s recent quarterfinal loss to France in the Davis Cup.
Murray looked a bit sluggish early on, dropping serve in the opening game. He saved two set points in the ninth but then broke and held to love to move 6-5 up.
He took the first set on Muller’s serve when, having done well to retrieve two drop shots from Murray, Muller missed an easy smash at the net. He whacked his racket against his shoe in frustration and then smashed it on the ground, buckling it in half.
Murray dropped serve again in the opening game of the second set but broke straight back. He set up a match point with an excellent backhand cross-court winner as he retrieved a shot deep into the court, and clinched victory on his first opportunity when Muller hit a forehand wide.
The Scot next takes on 15th seed Albert Ramos.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka, who won in 2014, hit 32 winners and broke Czech Jiri Vesely’s serve five times in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win.
Ninth-seeded Tomas Berdych, the runner-up here in 2015, rallied to beat 39-year-old German Tommy Haas 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
“It just shows what a great player he was and still is,” Berdych said. “Even at this late stage in his career he’s still able to play like that.”