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Murray confident he can build on solid performance against Golubev

When Andy Murray makes jokes at his own expense, you know he's in good heart.

Andy Murray in relaxed mood during his four-set victory over Andrey Golubev yesterday. Picture: AP
Andy Murray in relaxed mood during his four-set victory over Andrey Golubev yesterday. Picture: AP

The Scot eased into the second round of the French Open here yesterday with a 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.

In his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2012, having missed last year's event because of a back injury, Murray looked solid and coped well with the cool, windy conditions to take his place in round two.

The build-up to yesterday's match has been dominated by talk of Murray's coaching situation; whether being coachless is a problem or a bonus and who he is likely to name to replace Ivan Lendl. Asked on court yesterday how the search was going, Murray quipped: "I'm trying but not many people want to work with me so it's not that easy. Hopefully soon."

The extent of the success Murray enjoyed in just over two years with Lendl means whoever does take over has to be someone good enough, confident enough to do something similar. For now, the Scot has to go it alone - albeit with the help of his existing team - and yesterday, he got the job done without ever hitting the heights.

Having played brilliantly when losing narrowly to Rafa Nadal in Rome last weekend, Murray arrived in Paris feeling confident and yesterday he didn't panic when world No.53 Golubev's hit-and-miss game found its mark in the third set.

Murray restored normality in the fourth set with an early break and eased to victory and a second-round match against Marko Matosevic of Australia, a man nicknamed Mad Dog for his antics on and off the court.

"It was fine, I won the match," he said. "I did enough. Third set I didn't serve particularly well but for the rest of the match I did okay. I did what I had to do, and I got myself into the tournament now. There have been quite a few upsets here the last few days and tricky conditions. So, the most important thing is to get through."

Murray is one of those players who keeps a close eye on what's happening on-court during tournaments so he would have been on his toes after Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov joined Stanislas Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori on the sidelines.

"I think I've done a good job of that the last few years," he said. "In the slams, I have not always played my best tennis the beginning of the tournaments but I found ways to get through and get myself into the tournament and give myself opportunities to do well in these events."

The cool, windy conditions made life difficult for both men but Golubev also caused Murray problems with his rhythm-free style, lashing hard-hit winners and feather-light drop shots.

Murray dominated the first two sets, but having broken in the opening game of the third, he let his foot off the pedal a little and Golubev found his range to roar back to take the set.

Alarm bells might have been ringing but Murray righted the ship immediately with an early break and was never troubled as he advanced to a match with world No.66 Matosevic.

The Australian's reputation for mayhem precedes him and Murray said it was well deserved.

"From the time I have spent with him, I'd say that's a good name for him," Murray said of the Mad Dog nickname.

I couldn't say, to be honest, in here in front of all you guys, what the craziest thing he's done is. But he's an interesting character, that's for sure.

"He's a good guy and he's good fun around the locker room, always makes everyone smile, makes everyone laugh. That's nice."

Nevertheless, Murray will not expect too much trouble from Matosevic, even if he has plenty of respect for his ability.

"He's a good ball striker," he said. "He's had some good wins on the Tour as a result of maybe being a bit up and down. But he can play good tennis. He's a strong guy."

With Wawrinka gone from his quarter, Murray's path to a possible semi-final against Nadal is theoretically easier. Eight months on from back surgery, the Scot is showing no signs of discomfort and his confidence is on the rise.

"The match against Rafa in Rome was good for me. It came at an important period for me, as well. Hopefully that will help me [here]. If I can get myself into a position where I'm playing against those sorts of players, that match will get me confidence."

Jamie Murray and Australian John Peers battled through to the second round of the doubles. The No.15 seeds made a flying start against Canada's Vasek Pospisil and American Rajeev Ram, but they were forced to dig deep before completing a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2) win.

Linlithgow's Colin Fleming and Wimbledon's Ross Hutchins were paired with last week's Dusseldorf Open winners Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky, and the Mexican and the American continued their excellent recent form with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 win.

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