Number one seed Andy Murray kept his win streak rolling with a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-0 win over Martin Klizan in the first round of the Erste Bank Open. Murray will now face Gilles Simon for a place in the quarterfinals.
Klizan played well throughout the match but often found himself having to play risky shots to try and come up with something to get past Murray's defense and the majority of the time it was just causing a lot of errors, but occasionally it did pay off and he came up with some incredible shots. Ultimately though the inconsistencies mixed with solid play from Murray gave the Brit the advantage. Klizan brought out his best when it mattered to steal the second set, but Murray regained control in the decider, delivering a beatdown to secure his place in the second round.
Murray in control
Klizan earned a couple of break points in the opening game as Murray took his time settling into the match. They were quickly erased with an ace and some powerful hitting, but a double fault brought up another break point. Klizan wasn't able to make the most of the opportunity and Murray held to begin the match. The Slovakian leveled them up with an impressive hold. Another tricky hold for Murray kept him ahead on the scoreboard at 2-1.
Klizan looked to be sailing through on serve in the next game but the errors began to fly from the racket of the Slovakian to take them to deuce. Murray was dragged all over the court by Klizan after chasing down two drop shots, but the Brit's excellent defense prevailed and he won the point to break for a 3-1 lead. Murray still wasn't finding his best form on serve but held on again to consolidate the break.
The pressure was getting to Klizan as he began his next service game with a double fault and an error giving Murray the lead on return. The Slovakian kept fighting and reeled off the next four points to hold on and stay within one break. Klizan wasn't having as much luck on the return though and Murray cruised through another service game to force his opponent to serve to stay in the set.
Murray's relentless defense meant that Klizan was made to work hard but the Slovakian pushed through and held on to give the Brit the opportunity to serve for the set. The top seed had a lapse in concentration as he began his serving for the first set and Klizan raced to 0-30 on return, but Murray refocused to power through the next four points and secure the first set 6-3.
Murray pounced in the first game of the second set as Klizan's drop shots started to work against him. The Brit showed off his skills at the net to bring up a break point and a forehand long from Klizan gave the top seed a perfect start to the set. Klizan tried to battle for the break back in the next game with some bullying forehands wowing the crowd and pushing Murray back but again the Brit impressed with his defensive abilities to hold on and consolidate the lead in a grueling game that saw many opportunities come and go for the Slovakian.
Klizan got his first game on the board to keep hope alive in the set but Murray came through another tough game on serve to keep the lead intact at 3-1. The Slovakian was beginning to look frustrated but still managed to battle through and hold on as they approached the latter stages of the second set.
Murray sealed another easy hold of serve with an ace as the opportunities for Klizan to steal the break back were quickly disappearing. There were chances for Murray on the return in the next game at 15-30 but Klizan held on and sealed the game point with an impressive forehand down the line to take them to 4-3.
The Brit had a discussion with the umpire at the change of ends that seemed to cause a lapse in focus in the next game as Klizan was gifted a 0-40 lead on return. Murray managed to save two break points but another loose shot gave the late break back to the Slovakian. Klizan then easily held serve to take a lead for the first time in the match at 5-4.
Murray regained control on serve and then followed with a great return game to break at the crucial moment that allowed him to try and serve out the match. Klizan started out extremely aggressive on the return as he attempted to take the match to a tiebreak. The dictating tactics worked as he again raced to 0-40 on return. In a game similar to that of the first time that Klizan broke the Murray serve, the Brit again managed to save two break points but a huge cross-court forehand gave Klizan the third and sent the pair to a tiebreak.
Murray quickly earned a 2-0 lead after a couple of loose shots from Klizan. The mini break wasn't held for long as an error got Klizan back on serve. The top seed regained the mini-break in the following point to lead 3-1. The Slovakian again stole back the break, having to bring out his best groundstrokes and stay extremely aggressive to break through Murray's defense. The break exchanges continued and Murray earned another as his incredible defense impressed the crowd to go ahead 5-4, but Klizan again took it back on serve with a massive forehand return winner. Murray sent a forehand long to give Klizan a set point and a huge serve gave the Slovakian the second set 7-6(5).
Final set demolition
A quick hold opened the final set for Murray as he looked to regain control of the match. The Brit mixed aggressive returning with some clinical defense to secure the early break and take a 2-0 lead. A very erratic return game from Klizan gave Murray an easy love hold to race to a 3-0 lead.
The top seed raised his level and Klizan was left frustrated as Murray continued to get every ball back. The world number 35 managed to save another four break points but the Brit wasn't letting up as he took the double break lead on the fifth break point.
Murray continued to cruise through on serve with any hopes of a comeback looking extremely slim for Klizan as he attempted to get his first game of the set on the scoreboard. The demolition job continued as Murray broke down the Klizan serve and dominated to earn three match points. A dejected Klizan ended on a double fault, the Slovakian only winning eight points in the whole set, as Murray cruised through to a third set bagel.