By Philip James
Jamie Murray /John Peers def Nicholas Monroe/Simon Stadler 6-3, 1-6, 10-4
(3) Treat Huey/Dominic Inglot Def Fernando Verdasco/Mischa Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 10-5
Martin Klizan /Igor Zelenay Def Jamie Delgado/Dick Norman 6-4, 6-0
(4)Daniele Bracciali /Potito Starace Def Mikhail Elgin/Ken Skupski 6-7(4) 7-6(6) 10-8
Due to the strength in depth that Britain has in the men’s doubles game, the four were not included in the Davis Cup team, which heroically beat Russia at the weekend.
Despite only making 41% of first serves, Murray and Peers held easily throughout the first set and snatched a break to take the set.
But they missed their two break opportunities in the second set while Monroe and Stadler took theirs to level the match before excellent returning from Murray and Peers won them the Champions Tie-break.
Murray, ranked 84 in the world at doubles, is looking bounce back from a disappointing first round exit at the Leon Challenger in Mexico last week when he and Peers were second seeds.
Murray is joined in round two at Houston by London-born Inglot and his regular partner, Treat Huey, who are the third seeds.
Meanwhile in Morocco, the Brits fared less well.
Until recently Delgado and Skupski played regularly as a team, but both took time off after Open 13 in Marseille; Delgado to see to a long standing back problem and Skupski for the birth of his child.
Now playing separately, the Grand Prix Hassan II ATP 250 clay court tournament is only Delgado’s second tournament back and Skupski’s first.
After a tight first set which was taken with a single break, the Slovakians ‘bageled’ their opponents in the second, dropping just 9 points.
Both teams served strongly, with both sets going to tie-breaks before the Italians edged the Champions Tie-break to take the match.
Time will tell how if Delgado and Skupski can be more successful playing in new partnerships than they did together.