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Federer, Murray through in Madrid, Tsonga falls

ROGER Federer began his latest bid for a first title of the year with a confident 6-1 7-5 win over Robin Soderling yesterday, while Andy Murray came through a much stiffer test against Italian Simone Bolelli 7-6 6-4.

World number two Federer has now won all nine of his matches against Soderling and his second round victory at the Madrid Open was never in real doubt.

He got off to a great start on the clay in the Magic Box stadium when he raced through the first set in 20 minutes.

The Swede put up a better fight in the second set, breaking Federer in the sixth game, but the Swiss broke back immediately and again for a 6-5 lead before wrapping up victory with a second-serve ace on his first match point.

The 13-times grand slam champion next plays either American James Blake or Croat Ivo Karlovic.

"I got off to a good start, which helps and takes away a bit of pressure," Federer said at a news conference.

"It helps to get into the match, especially against a good server like Robin. I thought I played well."

Briton Murray, newly installed as world number three, is seeking a first ATP title on clay to add to the three he has won on hard courts this season.

He edged a tight first set 11-9 on the tie-break when Bolelli failed to deal with a return that caught the baseline.

The second set went with serve until the 10th game. Unseeded Bolelli saved one match point with an ace but sent a forehand into the net on the second.

Murray will play Tommy Robredo in the third round on Thursday. The 16th-seeded Spaniard came back from a set down to beat American Mardy Fish 3-6 7-6 6-2 and Murray said it would be a good test for him.

"He's one of the top 10 claycourt players for sure and obviously he's playing at home so he'll have very good support," Murray said.

Fernando Verdasco continued his fine form and secured a berth in the last 16 with a 6-3 6-2 victory over fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Croatian wild card Ivan Ljubicic upset French ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga when he beat the 2008 Australian Open finalist 6-4 7-5.

World number one Rafael Nadal begins his quest for a sixth title this year, and fourth on clay, against Austrian Juergen Melzer on Wednesday.


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