Murray begins Barcelona bid with easy win

Andy Murray recorded only his second win in four visits to the Barcelona Open.

Story highlights

  • Andy Murray begins Barcelona Open campaign with 6-3, 6-2 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky
  • Murray is seeded second in Barcelona behind defending champion Rafael Nadal
  • Teenager Bernard Tomic beats Ernests Gulbis for his second clay-court win of the season
  • U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur wins opening match in strong WTA field in Stuttgart

World No. 4 Andy Murray rebounded from his quarterfinal loss in Monte Carlo with a comfortable win in the opening round of the Barcelona Open on Tuesday.

Murray, who lost to Tomas Berdych last week, beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-3 6-2 on the red clay for his 20th win of the season.

"I thought I was hitting the ball well and I played better as the match went on," Murray said.

The 24-year-old spent time training in Barcelona as a teenager, but has never had much luck at the tournament: Tuesday's win was only his second in four visits.

Murray is seeded second behind Rafael Nadal, who won his eighth straight Monte Carlo Masters title by beating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

Defending champion Nadal will open his campaign for a seventh Barcelona title against fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Wednesday.

Spanish sixth seed Nicolas Almagro and ninth seed Fernando Verdasco, who won the 2010 title when Nadal did not play, also won in straight sets on Tuesday.

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Teenager Bernard Tomic, the 15th seed, beat unpredictable Latvian Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3 6-4 for his second clay-court win of the season.

"I think I played well on my service games," the 19-year-old Australian told the ATP website. "I am starting to move better on the clay and it is the best I've played so far."

He faces a tough test against Spain's Albert Montanes in the next round.

At the WTA Tour tournament in Stuttgart, U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur took less than an hour to beat Peng Shuai of China 6-2 6-2. The Australian said she had been helped by playing on clay in Stuttgart over the weekend when she helped Australia beat Germany in the Fed Cup.

"It was handy to have been here a week already, whereas a lot of the other girls were only arriving from Fed Cup on Monday night," Stosur said. "Sometimes the best preparations don't equate to the best performance, but you aren't going to complain about playing Fed Cup in the same place as your next event."

Stosur is competing in a strong field in Stuttgart that also includes the other three reigning grand slam champions -- Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Li Na -- as well as world No. 2 Maria Sharapova, last year's runner-up Caroline Wozniacki and Polish No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska.

French seventh seed Marion Bartoli was in action on Tuesday and beat Czech Iveta Benesova 6-3 6-2, while defending champion Julia Gorges beat Russian Fed Cup player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7 6-3 6-4 and her fellow German Andrea Petkovic made a winning return after three months out with a back injury.

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