French Open - Murray passes Prodon test in Paris
Tue, 24 May 12:04:00 2011
Murray, who has never advanced past the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, was given a test by his wily but inconsistent opponent at times but emerged unscathed as he found his rhythm to secure a second-round match against Simone Bolelli.
"I was annoyed with the way I was moving. I was hitting the ball from the back of the court, especially towards the end of the match, and served well, but didn't move particularly well," Murray said.
"It was a tough match. I was just saying outside there was no rhythm really to the match. He didn't want to have any long rallies, so he was hitting a lot of dropshots, going for shots.
"He'd change the rhythm or change the pace of the ball a lot."
Prodon, ranked 124 in the world, started strongly as Murray struggled to keep pace during the early holds.
However the Scot's serve contains far greater power than that of the Parisian, and he made it count by racing to a third-game hold then attacking with his return to seal the opening break for 3-1.
Prodon, 29, is of a similar mould to Fabrice Santoro and constantly probed Murray with disguised drop shots. He broke back for a 5-4 deficit, warming up the crowd with a Murray-esque sidespin drop to finish the game.
His baseline game lacks that finesse, however, and three unforced errors allowed Murray to claim the opening set.
After a close start to the second set, Murray earned the chance to break after one of Prodon's racquet strings snapped mid-point. A well-executed backhand pass seemed to have saved it for the under-pressure Frenchman, but the shot was just long.
From there Prodon may as well have conceded the second set, firing loose shots from deep while Murray was unerring at the baseline. He broke a second time and sealed the set 6-1.
Prodon, who had never faced the 24-year-old Briton before, emerged for the third set refreshed and keen to get his close game restarted. Murray had gone down a gear, perhaps expecting to coast to the match, and that gave birth to his one real wobble on a blustery but sunny morning.
Having struggled to one hold fourth seed Murray could not save break point in his next service game and went 3-1 down. That visibly annoyed him and he promptly broke back, claiming three break points - although the crowd were unhappy with a line call - and sealing the game with a fabulous winner to the corner.
Prodon, who has only won one match on the main tour in his 11-year professional career - reaching the first round in Paris in 2000, 2002 and 2008 - fought back briefly but his challenge tailed off as Murray sneaked a break for 4-3 then held to move within one game of the match.
He broke again to finish the job, returning too powerfully for his opponent on his third match point to seal a spot opposite lucky loser Bolelli, vanquisher of Frank Dancevic on Monday.
HLTS Murray - Prodon
British number one Elena Baltacha also booked her place in the second round with a 7-5 6-2 win over qualifier Sloane Stephens.
"I knew that I would have to serve pretty well," said Baltacha, after recording her maiden main draw victory at Roland Garros.
"I've got to say that was the most satisfying win I think of my whole career. Until last year, when I was in the main draw, for nine years I've been turning up here to Paris and been going home the same night because I've been losing first round quallies every year."
Baltacha joined Heather Watson in the second round, after the 19-year-old won her opening match also in straight sets on Monday.
"The fight is on for (British) number one now, so it's great," Baltacha said. "I'm really happy for Heather.
"She's 19; she's very talented, she deserves it, she's got a good game. Heather is the new kid on the block. I'm going to try and keep her down as long as I can."Follow me on Twitter @JonathanSymcox / Eurosport