In their first meeting at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Andy Murray defeated qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the second round and will play either Benoit Paire or Joao Sousa in the third round.
Comfortable first set for Murray
Andy Murray's form has been a cause for concern of late following early exits to Grigor Dimitrov and Federico Delbonis. Pierre-Hugues Herbert started the match nervously, going down a break to Andy Murray in just the second game of the set hitting a shot long. In the following game, Herbert got back on track and broke immediately back with errors flowing off the racket of the world number two.
In the sixth game, Andy Murray broke the world number 95 with a thumping backhand cross court pass as Herbert tried to attack at the net. The Scotsman consolidated and was just a game away from the first set. In the following game, Herbert saved two set points, but on the third missed a forehand to give Murray the opening set by 6-2.
Herbert fights back and takes second set
Despite losing the opening set, Herbert responded well. In the opening game of the set, he broke the Murray serve forcing the Brit to make the error. However, the Frenchman failed to hold his serve hitting a lob wide of Murray, who used the slice to effect. In the third game, Murray continued to make a number of errors as he got broken for the second time. He did save two break points from 40 love down, but couldn't stop the 25-year old from getting ahead.
Herbert managed to get the first hold of the set as he went 1-3 up. Andy Murray broke his French opponent to get back in the set, but immediately gave the break back and found himself behind again in quick time. With Herbert serving at 4-5, he returned a Murray shot at the net into the open court, taking the set 4-6 and levelling the match at one set apiece. The Frenchman was pumped at this point.
Murray races away to victory
As the Frenchman's confidence rose, Herbert looked to be the stronger of the two players at the start of the deciding set and played an attacking game. Murray managed to hold firm and with Herbert serving at 1-2, he played his worst game of the match dropping serve to love. A couple of games later at 4-2, The Brit hit an ace and that seemed to be the Frenchman's last chance.
In the seventh game, despite saving a break point he held for a healthy 5-2 lead. Herbert managed to hold in what would be his last service game of the match. Murray had no issues serving it out, hitting an ace to claim victory. Throughout the match, Murray looked rusty and with a lot of points to defend on clay having won two titles and made the semifinal at Roland Garros last year, he would certainly have to play a lot better.
Andy Murray served five aces and four double-faults, while Herbert hit four aces and one double-fault. Murray won 67 percent of first serves and 41 percent on second serve. Herbert won 71 percent first serves and 41 percent second. The Scotsman saved 50 percent break points, while the Frenchman saved 40 percent. Murray won 52 percent total points and Herbert 48 percent.