Madrid Masters: Murray beats Stepanek

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Andy Murray pressured Radek Stepanek into early errors before pulling away for a 6-4, 6-1 win on the opening day of the Madrid Masters on Monday.

Updated: October 17, 2007 09:06 IST
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Andy Murray pressured Radek Stepanek into early errors before pulling away for a 6-4, 6-1 win on the opening day of the Madrid Masters.

Murray's groundstrokes forced Stepanek into 32 unforced errors, and the 17th-ranked Briton hit 14 winners, three of them with his forehand as Stepanek crowded the net. Murray next will face 15th-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela.

"(That's) one of the best matches I've played, not since I've been back from injury (but) since I've been on the tour," Murray said. "If I keep that level of consistency I have a good chance of beating the tournament's best players."

The Scotsman, who missed nearly three months with a wrist injury, will be meeting with the ATP on Tuesday to discuss comments he made about gambling in tennis last week that have led officials to call in experts in an effort to keep the sport free of match-fixing.

"As soon as I got here, I got to speak to the players and told them what happened," Murray said. "Everyone understands what I meant. I'm glad it's been kind of cleared up."

Earlier, American qualifier Robby Ginepri beat Jurgen Melzer 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Ginepri committed more unforced errors (44-35), won fewer service breaks (2-3) and hit fewer winners (24-29), but still managed to overcome the Austrian with the big shot when he needed it.

The 72nd-ranked Ginepri will play defending champion Roger Federer, who beat the American in last year's quarterfinals before ultimately winning in three sets over Fernando Gonzalez for his first title in Spain.

Juan Monaco rallied to beat Igor Andreev of Russia 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-4. The Argentine next will play 11th-seeded Tommy Haas.

Argentine wild card Juan Martin Del Potro broke Potito Starace of Italy four times to win 7-5, 6-1, and Austrian qualifier Stefan Koubek beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Mario Ancic beat Marc Gicquel of France 6-4, 6-2 and will next play the sixth-seeded James Blake.

In Monday's late matches, Feliciano Lopez beat Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-3, 6-2 and Fernando Verdasco was too much for fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes, hitting 24 winners to Montanes' six in a 6-1, 6-1 victory.

There are still four places for next month's Masters Cup in Shanghai available with less than 100 points separating No 7 through No 23 in the points standings. Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davidenko already have qualified.

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