Andy Murray struggled to get past his opponent in the Monte Carlo Masters, French doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 over two hours in the sunken stage of the Monte Carlo Country Club.
The world number two had to fight back as he dropped his first set, and needed to call upon much of his arsenal to survive his opening match. The Scotsman appeared to be in less than brilliant form as he lost serve four times against his opponent.
“I’ve definitely been a little bit flat since the Davis Cup (last November). I don’t know why,” Murray said after progressing through the third round. “In a lot of my matches, it’s been some good stuff mixed in with some pretty bad stuff.”
“The norm is bad just now, so I need to improve on that. I’m not playing my best,” he conceded. “The consistency has not been there, maybe not as sharp as I could be mentally.”
Meanwhile, Roger Federer did not show any signs of slowing down after two and a half months without playing. He had undergone a knee operation on February and delayed his comeback by three weeks due to stomach illness on March before the Miami Open tournament.
Broken while serving for the win leading 5-2 in the second set; Federer got the job done on the second time of asking with a winner. The Swiss maestro overpowered Guillermo Garcia Lopez in straight sets by 6-3, 6-4 at the same stage as Murray, and was confident despite doubts about his repaired knee.
“The knee felt really good, like in practices, it felt like I didn’t have to worry about it,” the 34-year-old said. “I’m at a point now where I’m looking more forward in the sense that whenever I can dig out a good point.”
“It’s only building on my confidence now, which is great.”