Beck retires injured in third set with Scot in control

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It was a shame for Beck, who had battled hard, but too many unforced errors proved his undoing as Murray withstood everything thrown at him before upping his game at key times.

On paper, a meeting between world No. 5 Murray and Beck, ranked 101 and with just one ATP Tour win to his name in 2010, looked a complete mismatch, and so it proved. Beck had his moments but Murray’s superior all-round play was decisive.

An entertaining opening game went Murray’s way despite two winning backhand volleys from his opponent.

The 23-year-old then made further inroads by breaking the Beck serve as a wayward backhand drifted long.

Murray found himself 0-30 down in his next service game but got out of trouble, as he did when Beck threatened again at 1-3. A couple of routine service games followed, forcing Beck to hold serve to stay in the set. He did so to 15 but there was to be no reprieve as Murray closed it out.

Murray immediately broke at the start of the second set and claimed a double break four games later with a stunning forehand winner down the line as Beck closed in on the net. And with Beck starting to struggle as Murray upped the tempo, the Scot, from Dunblane, secured a fourth break of the match to establish a two-set lead.

Murray was in full flow by the start of third set and threatened to make early inroads again after setting up a break point with a fantastic backhand return winner in the second game.

But a wayward backhand squandered the opportunity and Beck eventually held on after ending some fine defence from Murray by dragging him into the net with a drop shot before putting away the ensuing volley.

Beck took a medical timeout at 2-1 down for treatment on his shoulder but Murray showed little sympathy when play resumed, an outrageous forehand winner down the line from way outside the court giving him a 30-0 advantage.

To his credit, Beck promptly won four points on the trot to stay on serve, and then created his first three break-point opportunities in the next game.

But Murray snuffed out the threat, saving two of them with booming first serves before two more unreturnable deliveries saw him hold on to edge 3-2 ahead. That soon became 4-2 as Murray broke and with that Beck decided he had had enough.

Rafael Nadal also made seamless progress into the second round when opponent Marcos Daniel was forced to retire after losing the first 11 games of a woefully one-sided contest.

Nadal, chasing the “Rafa Slam” after wins last year at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, barely broke sweat as he surged into a 6-0, 5-0 lead before Daniel mercifully called time on a dismal encounter.

Brazilian Daniel, ranked 93 in the world, won just 12 points in total and the writing was on the wall long before he sustained an injury to his left knee towards the end of the first set which handicapped him further and prompted a premature end.

Nadal expressed his sympathy for his opponent after being in a similar predicament last year, when he had to quit his quarter-final against Murray when two sets down and a troublesome knee injury. The world No. 1 said: “It’s a terrible feeling and I wish him all the best.”