Andy Murray ended a four-match losing streak with a 6-3, 6-2 win over good friend and local prospect Gael Monfils at the ATP Challenger 175 in Aix-en-Provence.
Murray went down on the Challenger Tour to save his errant clay swing.
Murray, currently ranked 52nd in the world, has yet to win on clay this season and has said he may skip the French Open early.
A perfect start in Provence
– ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 3, 2023
«Obviously the beginning of the clay season wasn’t that easy for me, but usually after a few weeks I feel better and start playing better,» Murray said at a post-match press conference in Madrid.
«Obviously I’m not saying I came here last year and played unbelievable tennis, but I was playing well enough to win matches … against good players, great players.»
“I want to play [Roland-Garros] Because I don’t know if I’ll get another chance,” Murray added. «I also have ambitions to compete for Wimbledon titles and things like that.»
Murray was looking for a change when he conceded entry to the Open X Provence Credit Agricole after his loss to Italian qualifier Andrea Vavasori at the Madrid Masters equaled the worst run of his professional career.
Fate, on the other hand, could have been kinder, pitting Murray against former world No. 6 Monfils, who eventually played in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2014, winning in five games.
Monfils, who dropped to 322 in the rankings after a lengthy injury layoff, was similarly looking to bounce back but looked rusty overall.
Murray broke in the fourth game of the first set to lead 3-1. But Monfils quickly lost that advantage at the crucial point, blasting Murray back to the net, immediately going back.
Murray kept up the pressure on Monfils’ next service game, breaking again after the Frenchman’s double fault and holding on for a back break to lead 5-2.
The 35-year-old Scot served comfortably to love, and the 44-minute first game was his 6-3.
Monfils survived a few more break chances to open the second set, holding serve until the fifth game, when Murray returned the French flag long to take a 3-2 lead.
Murray held the edge until the seventh game when Monfils was broken again, at which point the backcourt returned to the net on the final rally of the match.
The Briton held to love and secured his second point of the race with victory in one hour and 22 minutes.
The tournament’s fifth seed Murray advanced to the second round against Laurent Locolin, who defeated world number 60 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 3-6 6-4 7-5.
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