By Jake Davies
- Andy Murray  defeats Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-4
- Murray v Albert Ramos-Vinolas for second time in a row
BARCELONA, ATP – Andy Murray wins his opening match on clay in 2017 as he attempts to replicate his greatest clay season on tour in 2016.
Andy Murray  defeats Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-4
World No.1 Andy Murray has struggled for results during the 2017 season. The lack of match-play in Monte Carlo forced Murray to look for more competitive matches on the red clay and the tournament in Barcelona seemed the perfect location for Murray. The fact that it has rained for most of the week disrupting the schedule has not helped.
Murray was understandably still trying to rediscover his feel for a clay court. The Briton saved an early break point in the first game of the match, but eventually held to open the match. It remained on serve up to the eighth game where Murray finally made an impression on Feliciano Lopez‘ serve. The World No.1 lost the following service game, but took the first set on his seventh set point.
The second set featured a number of mini-battles in which Murray came through unscathed. The first real mini-battle saw Murray save four break points in the 3rd game, but Murray played some brave and accurate drop shots that helped him on the big points. That was the major difference in this particular match-up.
A final backhand sailed wide for Lopez, which gave Murray his first win in Barcelona 2017, 6-4 6-4.
Andy Murray  vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas H2H: Ramos-Vinolas leads 1-0
The left-handed Ramos-Vinolas is Murray’s quarter-final opponent. It was just last week where the Spaniard won his first ever match against a World No.1 player by beating Murray in the Monte Carlo Masters event.
Murray’s loss to the Spaniard will still be fresh in the mind and he will be determined to avenge that defeat as quickly as possible, while getting valuable match-play leading up to the French Open.
As he mentioned after his loss, Ramos-Vinolas has been a clay court player in form this season, and once more the Brit can be made to work hard for point. His serving will be key, again a test for the elbow, and will need a balance of aggressive play and patience to redress the balance this time around.
Prediction: Murray in two sets
Murray and Ramos-Vinolas are scheduled not before 2pm (1pm BST) on Pista Rafa Nadal.
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