Andy Murray progresses in ATP Valencia Open

Andy Murray moved into the second round of the Valencia Open today with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Jurgen Melzer.

The British No 1 is chasing a place in the ATP World Tour Finals and hopes to boost his qualification chances with a big points haul at the ATP 500 event.

Melzer, who has previously been as high as eighth in world, broke Murray’s serve three times but did not have the consistency to challenge the two-time grand slam winner.

Murray served 10 aces and won 80 per cent of the points on his first serve as he wrapped up the win in an hour and 20 minutes. He will face Fabio Fognini in the second round.

Murray’s hopes of reaching the end-of-season event in London had already been raised when fellow Tour Finals hopeful Tomas Berdych was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Pablo Andujar earlier on Wednesday.

Berdych’s defeat to Andujar means he will gain no ranking points from the event and Murray can move above him and into seventh place in the Race to London standings if he reaches the final.

If Murray wins the tournament he could even move above Kei Nishikori to become the top non-qualified player. However, he must also be wary of the challenge of Valencia top seed David Ferrer, who is currently 110 points behind him and defeated Andreas Seppi 6-3 7-5 in his first round clash on Wednesday.

Murray went into the contest against Melzer with a 6-0 head-to-head record against the Austrian and looked settled in the early stages as he picked up a break in the third game.

However, his serve then went off the boil and a double fault gave Melzer an immediate break back, although Melzer’s wide return in game five again put Murray in the driving seat.

Murray battled once more to hold his next service game but this time the outcome was more favourable as the third seed took a 4-2 lead and held on to see out the set.

It was Melzer who drew first blood in the second set, breaking in the opening game with a tidy forehand before he dropped his own serve straight afterwards.

Murray won his next two service games to love, and his fortunes improved further in game six when he fought back from 0-40 to break once more, Melzer losing his focus after being on the wrong end of a bounce off the net cord.

The Briton could not hold on to his advantage and the latest in a string of unforced errors put things back on serve before Melzer gifted his opponent yet another break, which this time proved to be decisive.