Andy Murray grinds out three-set win over Radek Stepanek

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Andy Murray battled past veteran Radek Stepanek in three sets to get his defence of the Madrid Open off to a winning start.

The world number two made hard work of beating the 37-year-old from the Czech Republic, dropping the second set before eventually sealing a 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 6-1 victory.

Three booming forehand winners gave Stepanek, ranked 148 in the world, a break of the Murray serve in the very first game.

But Murray shrugged off his sluggish start to break back in the sixth game.

The Scot fended off a break point at 5-5 and went on to take the first set in the tie-break.

Stepanek hit back with another early break to race into a 4-1 lead in the second, holding his nerve to eventually serve out for the set and take the match to a decider.

But Murray took his tiring opponent's serve in the second and fourth games before wrapping up an unconvincing victory in two hours and 16 minutes.

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