By Ros Satar, in Paris
- Andy Murray  def. Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-0
- Kyle Edmund def. Gastao Elias 6-3 6-2 7-5
PARIS, FRANCE – Andy Murray was back to winning ways in his Roland Garros 2017 opener, with Kyle Edmund posting a straight sets win.
Andy Murray  def. Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-0
After a troublesome lead-up to this year’s Roland Garros, especially when you take his last two years of progression on the surface, Andy Murray almost looked back to his old self, as he came through his opener, dropping the second set against Andrey Kuznetsov.
Despite having to defend break points on the first service game of the match, he made no mistake on the first chance he was offered to take the lead. Still Murray is nothing if not consistent at making things hard for himself as he was broken serving for the set the first time, opting instead to break the Russian to go up 1-0.
The pair traded breaks at the start of the second set before the Russian started to take the initiative more, breaking Murray twice to set up a decisive lead. Murray broke back to keep the deficit to just a single break but the set was Kuznetsov’s.
It seemed to trigger something in Murray who had been doing his manic grinning and sarcastic applause towards his box in the second set, but suddenly was on a march at the start of the third set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead and keeping Kuznetsov at bay to go up 2-1 in the match.
He denied the Russian even a chance to get on the board in the fourth set, and after a couple of questionable early exits, it was a strong start by the World No. 1.
He said, after the match: “It definitely got better as it went on. Started to move a bit better towards the end. Was hitting the ball better when I was defending. That’s something the last few weeks I haven’t done so well and didn’t start off the match doing particularly well.
“But once I was getting a little bit more on my ball when I was defending, there wasn’t too many openings for him in the points. But, yeah, it was a decent start, considering obviously how I played in the buildup.”
He will face Martin Klizan on Wednesday, who won a bitter match with French wildcard Laurent Lokoli which resulted in a refused handshake as the least of all the drama.
He said: “I only played him once, and that was last year in Vienna, I think, is the only time we have played. But he has a lot of talent. He can hit a big ball. You know, he is quite unpredictable on the court. He plays, you know, a lot of dropshots and quite unorthodox sort of shot selection, so it can be difficult to prepare for that.
“Obviously I saw a few videos of his match today. It was obviously a pretty entertaining match. Yeah, hopefully I can go out there and play some good tennis and make it tough for him, because he had a very long match today.”
Kyle Edmund def. Gastao Elias 6-3 6-2 7-5
British No. 2 Kyle Edmund actually turned in the best result of the Brits, impressing with a straight sets win over Gastao Elias. Edmund ripped through the first set building up a 5-1 lead before Elias managed to stem the flow and a break back of his own.
He was twice broken again in the second set, but rallied to force Edmund to raise his level again coming back from 0-3 down in the third to not only get back on level terms, but to strike out for a win after breaking the Portuguese player at the end of the set, before serving out for a place in the second round.
He said, after the match: “I was happy with the three sets, just the match in general. I thought I played well, dictated with my game. I thought I served very well, like, controlled my service games well. You know, put a lot of first serves in, which I think he found that hard to return especially standing quite far back.
“I was just happy with my balance of play, the way I was thinking out there. When I was in a bit of trouble, I was able to regain momentum well. Just very happy with the performance for my first round.”
He did not seem fazed by the fact that he has made the second round fo the French Open for the third time – perhaps quite rightly as he ought to expect progression on a surface that does agree with him.
“I’m happy, but, you know, it’s only first round. It’s not like I have made semis or finals for three years in a row. So it’s good that I think each year I’ve definitely gotten better.
“My first five-set win, first Grand Slam match came here. I remember it was so very exciting. Last year was a great match against Basilashvili in four sets. This year I’ve won in three sets. So it’s good progression. But, yeah, I just felt I was the better player today and deserved the win.”
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