Andy Murray Beats Taro Daniel, Sets Roberto Bautista Agut Clash at Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. | ATP Tour


Andy Murray did not hide his disappointment after his second-round Australian Open defeat to Taro Daniel in January, but the former World No. 1 didn’t have to wait long to banish those demons.

Playing at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open as a wild card, the 34-year-old produced a splendid first-round performance to brush past Daniel 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Murray is a two-time champion and four-time finalist in Doha, and he looked happy to be back as he hit 11 winners and broke Daniel twice to ease to the first set.

World No. 110 Daniel broke in the first game of the second set to momentarily halt the Murray charge, but a trademark backhand winner that sealed an immediate break back was typical of how the Scot struck the ball throughout and he went on to seal victory in one hour, 20 minutes.

Murray now faces second seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round. The Brit will be seeking to increase his 3-1 ATP Head2Head series lead over the World No. 16 Spaniard.

Montepellier champion and seventh seed Alexander Bublik beat Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 6-4 with a powerful performance earlier on Tuesday.

The World No. 31 Kazakh hit 25 winners including seven aces, breaking his opponent four times to reach the second round in Doha for the third consecutive year. He now faces Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, who defeated Jiri Vesely 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.

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