Murray labours through in Monte Carlo


Andy Murray started his clay-court season with an unconvincing victory over qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

The world number two enjoyed his most successful season on the red stuff last year and stated his belief that he can win a first French Open title after reaching the semi-finals in 2015.

Murray headed to Monte Carlo on the back of third-round exits at the Miami Open and Indian Wells and the second seed made hard work of beating the unheralded Herbert 6-2 4-6 6-3.

Second seed Murray, a two-time semi-finalist in this event, raced into a 2-0 lead and took advantage of Herbert's service woes to wrap up the first set with a further two breaks after the Frenchman had levelled at 2-2.

World number 95 Herbert entertained the crowd with some typically French finesse to take the upper hand in the second set, with some erratic play from Murray enabling the outsider to level the match courtesy of three breaks.

Murray lost his temper in a defeat to Grigor Dimitrov in Miami and vented his frustration at umpire Carlos Bernardes in the decider, but executed a delicate backhand volley at the net to go a break up at 3-1.

Herbert continued to show resistance, but Murray eventually got the job done to set up a third-round encounter with Joao Sousa or Benoit Paire at the at the Monte Carlo Country Club.