Andy Murray wins opener against Benoit Paire at virtual Madrid Open

By Gavin McCafferty, PA
PA Media: Sport

Andy Murray put his all into the virtual Madrid Open as he kicked off the competition with a comprehensive win.

Organisers of the Spanish tournament set up a PlayStation alternative after the coronavirus pandemic forced its postponement.

Murray kicked off the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro with a 3-1 victory over Benoit Paire, with his gaming skills as evident as his usual will to win.

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The Scot at times chastised his virtual self, shouting: “Why am I playing to your backhand?” after losing a point. And, after breaking the Frenchman’s serve, he launched into a thunderous cry of “That’s the one, come on!”

Murray declared “my hands are sweaty” before prevailing in the Tennis World Tour game, his first in a four-team group which also contains Rafael Nadal, who also won his opener.

Fellow Briton Johanna Konta was not nearly so successful in her first match, winning only one point in a 3-0 defeat by Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

But Konta got to grips with the game before her second encounter, beating Victoria Azarenka 4-2 to keep her group hopes alive.

The four-day charity initiative will donate 50,000 euros (£43,592) to the Madrid Food Bank to help reduce the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The winner of each tournament will get 150,000 euros (about £130,000) from which they will be able to decide how much they donate to their colleagues on the tour who have been worst affected by the suspension of play.

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