Rio 2016: Andy Murray marches past Juan Monaco

Andy Murray continued the defense of his Olympic crown after a routine straight sets victory over the Argentine Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-1 in the heat of the day on Centre Court in Rio.

This was the pairs’ sixth meeting, with Murray winning their last encounter in Shenzhen in 2014 2-6, 6-3, 6-0. But, the 32-year-old Argentine had also enjoyed two victories over the world number two, making their head-to-head prior to the match 3-2 in the Brit’s favor. In the previous round, Murray eased past Victor Troicki 6-3, 6-2 to set up this clash.

Murray makes the first move

Murray made a bright start to his second round match, holding convincingly before outlasting his opponent in an extended rally, wrong-footing Monaco as he hit a cross-court forehand winner to secure an early break of serve. Some more strong serving put the Brit in command, holding to love to take a 3-0 lead after just 12 minutes of action on Centre Court.

The Argentine makes a temporary recovery

The current world number 107 held serve to settle into the match and outlasted Murray in a wonderful rally, finishing with a cross-court forehand pass to bring up two break back points in the fifth game. The Brit saved the first, but Monaco was not to be denied on the second, ripping a cross-court forehand pass once again to move back to 3-2.

First set goes the Brit’s way

The defending Olympic Champion responded in excellent fashion, racing to 0-40 after the Argentine dumped an overhead smash into the net. Monaco’s backhand went just long on the following point to hand the break straight back to the Brit.

In the eighth game, Monaco served well with the new balls, thundering a backhand winner plum on the line to hold and force Murray to serve for the set. The Brit looked to be coasting through up 40-0 on serve. A couple of errors left him under a bit of pressure, however, a timely fourth ace wrapped up the first set 6-3 in 40 minutes.

 Monaco had enjoyed two previous victories against Murray but could not find the level required to trouble him today.  Monaco had enjoyed two previous victories against Murray but could not find the level required to trouble him today. Photo: Getty
Monaco had enjoyed two previous victories against Murray but could not find the level required to trouble him today. Monaco had enjoyed two previous victories against Murray but could not find the level required to trouble him today. Photo: Getty

The world number two dominates in the second set

In set number two the world number two made the perfect start, breaking his opponent’s serve in the first game courtesy of Monaco firing a cross-court backhand wide into the tramlines. In the world number 107’s attempts to salvage a foothold in the match he squandered a 30-0 advantage as he sent a backhand long to drop serve for the second successive game.

Monaco was able to hold serve in the fifth game but then had to come out and serve to stay in the match in his next service game. A very fortunate net cord put Murray on the verge of victory at 15-30, but a missed return from the Brit kept the Argentine in it. The former top 20 player netted a cross-court backhand to give the match to the Olympic champion, sealing a 6-3, 6-1 victory in 1 hour and 9 minutes for the Brit as he advanced to the third round having dropped just one point on serve in the second set. Murray will face the Italian Fabio Fognini in the third round on Wednesday.

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