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Murray Edges Almagro In Madrid Opener

Madrid, Spain

Watch Wednesday highlights and watch live streaming from Madrid.

Andy Murray made a confident start in his first match in more than a month, but needed to fight to close out a win over Nicolas Almagro in second-round action Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Murray rolled out to a 5-0 lead, but managed to win just two of the next eight games as Almagro drew level. The seventh seed saved three break points in the third set, and clinched the 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory with a break in the final game.

"I hung in and got the job done," he said. "It's what I needed to do. He's a very tough guy to beat on this surface. Certainly moving a lot better at the end of the match and hitting the ball a lot bigger than he was at the beginning. So that was a good one for me to come through."

Almagro had upset World No. 1 Rafael Nadal two weeks ago in the Barcelona quarter-finals, but required 11 match points to win his first-round match against Andrey Golubev in Madrid.

Afterwards, Murray signed the camera lens with the word "Bally" and a heart, paying tribute to former women's British No. 1 Elena Baltacha, who passed away Sunday aged 30 from liver cancer.

"It's been a tough ten days or so," he admitted. "I kind of kind of had an idea what was going on with Elena because my mom is obviously very close with her and her husband."

Murray is contesting his first clay-court tournament since last May in Rome, though he posted a 3-1 mark on this surface during Great Britain’s Davis Cup ties earlier this year. He is looking to win his second Madrid title, after triumphing in 2008 when the event was held on hard courts.

Murray goes on to face Colombian Santiago Giraldo, who converted all three of his break point chances to upset No. 11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4. Tsonga, who reached the Monte-Carlo quarter-finals last month (l. to Federer), fell to a 15-9 season record.

Giraldo, a finalist a couple weeks ago in Barcelona (l. to Nishikori), had knocked out former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the first round. He advances to the Madrid third round for the first time in five visits.

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