Andy Murray booked his place in the Madrid Open third round with a routine 6-4 6-3 victory over Romania’s Marius Copil.
The world No 1 looked to be over his recent elbow injury problems, picking up where he left off in Barcelona where he was pleased to reach the semi-final before defeat to Dominic Thiem.
Thiem is a prospective quarter-final opponent in Madrid where Murray was runner-up last year and he began his bid to go one better with a comfortable win against the world No 104, who he was facing for the first time.
Murray faced no break points in the match and managed a single break of Copil’s serve in each game to wrap up the victory in just 83 minutes to advance.
The Scot started well and, having caused Copil a few problems in his opening service games, had to wait until the 10th game of the opener for his breakthrough as the Romanian’s huge first serve and big forehand ensured Murray could take few chances.
Leading 5-4 and with Copil serving to stay in the set, Murray produced his most attacking set of the match to capture the advantage.
The second set followed a similar pattern, with neither man able to make a significant impact on the other’s serve until Murray made his move.
With a 3-2 lead, Murray forced the sixth game of the set to deuce and, with Copil unable to break through Murray’s defence, a couple of unforced errors handed Murray the break which he consolidated before closing out the match.
Murray, a champion in Madrid in 2015 on the clay and in 2008 on the hard court, will not face his Australian Open conqueror Mischa Zverev, who was beaten in straight sets by Croatia’s world No 59 Borna Coric to advance to the last 16.
Coric got into the event as a lucky loser and made the most of his second chance with a 6-3 7-6 victory over the world No 31 in just 78 minutes, and he will now face Pierre-Hugues Herbert – who knocked out 13th seed Lucas Pouille – for the chance to face Murray in the last 16.
Also in Murray’s quarter, 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic beat Roberto Bautista Agut in a three-set marathon which lasted more than three hours and featured three tie-breaks.
Eventually, it was the Croatian veteran who prevailed saving four match points before coming through 7-6 6-7 7-6 to set up a meeting with 12th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
World No 3 Stan Wawrinka also knows who he will be facing after Frenchman Benoit Paire recorded a surprisingly straightforward 6-3 6-4 victory over Spanish clay-court specialist Pablo Carreno Busta.
Sky Sports coverage of the Mutua Madrid Open continues on Wednesday from 11am on Sky Sports 1