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Having skipped most of the clay-court season, Andy Murray opted to instead begin his Wimbledon preparations early by taking part in a number of grass-court tournaments. He reached the semi-final of the Surbiton Trophy last week, and has followed it up with an opening round win against Christopher O'Connell in Stuttgart.
Murray - who entered the tournament unseeded - beat the Australian in an hour and 35 minutes, with the Scot putting on a dominant display to win 6-4 6-3.
But while the result suggests an easy day's work for Murray, the 35-year-old was forced to dig deep early on by his 28-year-old opponent, with O'Connell winning the first three games of the match. However, the former world No.1's experience shone through eventually, with Murray dropping just one more game in the opening set before building on his momentum to win the second.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) June 7, 2022
"I just want to keep improving week on week and match on match," said Murray.
"That's all you can do really. You can't control the results, you can't predict how the results are going to go but hopefully I can make improvements each round.
"I thought I played some good tennis at times," added Murray, before criticising his serving.
"I didn't serve my best today and obviously got off to a slow start, but once I got the break back in the first set I played some pretty good points. "It was quite solid from there but yes, I would like to serve a bit better." Having seen off world No.116 O'Connell, Murray will face a much tougher test in the second round against Alexander Bublik - the tournament's seventh seed.
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 7, 2022
Immediately after competing in Stuttgart, Murray is scheduled to play next week's event at Queen's Club, a tournament he has previously won on five occasions (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016). Following that, Murray can enjoy a short break before taking part in this summer's Wimbledon, with the third Grand Slam of the year scheduled to start on June 27. Having reunited with former coach Ivan Lendl back in March, Murray will hope to replicate the pair's Wimbledon-winning form this summer.
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