Tennis

Andy Murray had to dig deep to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters (AP).

Andy Murray digs deep to defeat Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Monte Carlo Masters

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Andy Murray got his clay-court season under way with an unconvincing win over world number 95 Pierre-Hugues Herbert at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The Scot, ranked second in the world, received a bye in the first round but had to dig deep to reach round three courtesy of a 6-2 4-6 6-3 victory.

Murray's form has been a cause for concern of late following early-tournament defeats against Grigor Dimitrov and Federico Delbonis.

He exchanged early breaks with Frenchman Herbert but went on to punish a nervous first serve with further breaks in the sixth and eight games to take the first set in 37 minutes.

However, Murray lost his way in the second set, dropping his serve three times as Herbert found his range.

The 2013 Wimbledon champion continually found himself taken to deuce on his serve in the decider, as Herbert sensed an upset.

He also vented his frustration at a disputed line call with the umpire during one break between games.

But breaks in the fourth and sixth games proved decisive and Murray eventually wrapped up the triumph in two hours and seven minutes.

Murray enjoyed his best ever season on clay last year, winning titles in Madrid and Munich before losing to world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at the French Open.

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