French Open: Andy Murray into second round despite dropping set to Andrey Golubev
Last Updated: 28/05/14 2:06pm
Andy Murray progressed to the second round of the French Open with a 6-1 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over Andrey Golubev.
The British No 1 had a slight blip when he lost the third set but never seemed close to suffering an upset in his opening match at Roland Garros.
Golubev showed flashes of brilliance but was not consistent enough to mount a sustained challenge against Murray, who completed the victory in 2 hours 35 minutes.
Murray, who missed the tournament last year with back problems, will play Marinko Matosevic or Dustin Brown in the second round.
"He's a tough player,” Murray said of Golubev, who is ranked 53rd in the world.
He's extremely aggressive, he puts you on the back foot very early. I tried to be patient. It was quite windy, especially at the start.
"He's extremely aggressive, he puts you on the back foot very early. I tried to be patient. It was quite windy, especially at the start. I didn't go for my shots too much and finally got the win.
"Last year was tough for me, I didn't get to play much (on clay). It was very tough watching Roland Garros on TV. I've tried to improve my movement, get a little bit more top spin on my shots."
Murray had won both his previous two matches against Golubev but the Kazakh, who beat Stanislas Wawrinka in the Davis Cup last month, is a dangerous player when he is on form.
The seventh seed made the perfect start as he won every game on the Golubev serve in the opening set, although he did drop his own serve in the fifth game.
In the second set Murray continued to deal well with Golubev's streaky play, the Kazakh mixing powerful winners with shanks and simple errors.
The underdog was broken again in the fifth game of the second set but fought back to level it at 4-4, as Murray complained that a TV camera suspended on wires was in his field of vision.
However, the British player forged ahead again straightaway by breaking serve for the fifth time, and then held on to take the set when Golubev netted a forehand.
Murray broke Golubev yet again in the first game of the third set but his own serve then went completely off the boil and it was not until he was 5-2 down that he finally held.
It was too late to save the set but it gave him a sign of encouragement heading into the fourth, where he took control by moving into a 3-0 lead.
Murray was hardly at the top of his game but he was able to move comfortably clear of his opponent, who was busy breaking the half-century mark for unforced errors.
Golubev saved two match points but missed a return on the third as Murray finally wrapped up the win.