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Murray Fast Out The Blocks; Stepanek Brings Down Isner

Shanghai, China

Murray© AFP/Getty ImagesAndy Murray is bidding for his third Shanghai crown in a row.

World No. 3 Andy Murray opened his bid for a third successive Shanghai Rolex Masters title on Thursday with a 6-2, 6-2 dismissal of Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov. Murray, who had received a bye and a walkover through the first two rounds, was quick off the mark and converted five of his six break point opportunities to claim victory in 57 minutes.

"I think I did a decent job," said Murray. "It's very, very different conditions to last week. I just tried to stay solid and not go for the lines too much early on. I tried to keep the ball low. He's very explosive when the ball's up around his shoulders. Just tried to keep the ball low, play solid, and I served well."

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Last month’s US Open champion, Murray, is coming off a semi-final showing at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (l. to Raonic) and improved to a 51-12 match record on the season. The Scot has a perfect 10-0 record at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, having beaten Roger Federer in the 2010 final and David Ferrer last year.

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The 25-year-old Murray goes onto face World No. 41 Radek Stepanek, who reached his first quarter-final since June with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory over eighth-seeded American John Isner. The Czech player withstood 17 aces from Barclays ATP World Tour Finals qualification contender Isner and converted two of his eight break point chances to win in two hours and 27 minutes.

"It's always great to be in quarters," said Stepanek. "The tournament is not over yet. I'm playing some good tennis here this week. I like the court. It suits my game. I'm trying to make the most of it."

"He's in great shape," said Murray of Stepanek. "He's incredibly quick and flexible. He has a very different game style to a lot of the guys now. He's a character on the court, as well. He likes to entertain, too, and can frustrate guys. I'll need to make sure I'm focused and patient and take care of my side of the court tomorrow."

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