Efficient Andy Murray eases past Simon at Monte Carlo

Andy Murray
Murray beat Simon for the fifth time in six meetings

British number one Andy Murray produced another solid performance to beat Frenchman Gilles Simon in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

The Scot carried on where he left off against Radek Stepanek in round two on Wednesday to seal a 6-3 6-3 victory.

Simon needed treatment for a twisted ankle at the end of the first set, but by then Murray was already in control.

The third seed did what was needed in set two to line up a quarter-final with Portuguese qualifier Frederico Gil.

"I thought it was a good match until he got hurt," said Murray.

"Once I got my position on the court and could use my forehand to open the court on his backhand I was able to dictate a lot of the points - then he got his injury.

"It changed the match. You always feel you are in the driving seat but it's not a lot of fun, it spoils the concentration.

"You know you are in the driving seat and you want to put the foot down and finish the match as efficiently as possible.

"Drop shots were winning me virtually every single point - I had to keep moving him."

Murray began the match in confident fashion, winning a lengthy rally to break serve in the opening game, only to hand the advantage back with a loose volley in game two.

The drop shot was a key tactic for Murray from the early stages, with varying degrees of success, but it was the more reliable backhand down the line that earned him a second break at 4-3 after a sloppy game from Simon.

Murray moved swiftly to the brink of the opening set, only for Simon to roll his ankle and require treatment for six minutes.

With the ankle heavily taped, the Frenchman returned to court, but it was no surprise when two errors immediately handed Murray the set.

Clearly struggling to move freely, Simon decided the only tactic left open to him was all-out attack, and it worked long enough to earn him a break at the start of the second set.

Murray soon got wise to the new game plan, however, and began to deploy the drop shot with ruthless repetition, much to the displeasure of the Monte Carlo crowd.

However, for a man seeking his first back-to-back wins in three months it was the right move and he swept through the next five games.

Simon gave the home crowd one final moment to cheer when he broke serve with Murray trying to close out the match, but the Scot made no mistake second time around and sealed victory after one hour and 35 minutes.

Asked afterwards if he had been concerned by the boos that followed his drop shots in the second set, Murray responded: "I wasn't bothered at all. I was doing what I had to.

"Every player on the tour would have done exactly the same thing. I wasn't doing anything wrong. We'll see the reaction tomorrow."

Simon backed his opponent, saying :"You play to win."