Andy Murray wins in Rotterdam
Andy Murray began his Rotterdam mission with a satisfying straight-sets win over French player Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
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The Scot won 6-3 6-3 in an hour and a half at the Ahoy venue where he is attempting to be champion for a second time, having beaten Rafael Nadal in the 2009 final.
It was not a classic performance from Murray, who entered the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on a late wild card, but he comfortably had enough to see out the job.
Having returned from back surgery, Murray has reached the Australian Open quarter-finals and helped Great Britain through to the Davis Cup quarter-finals already this season.
On Wednesday night he had immediate chances to break serve but could not capitalise, only to make a breakthrough on the Roger-Vasselin serve in the third game, which proved to be the key moment of the set.
Murray had beaten Roger-Vasselin in each of their previous two matches, without dropping a set. Those matches came on clay in Monte Carlo last year and on hard court at the 2012 Australian Open.
On the indoor hard surface in Rotterdam it was clear who held the upper hand, with Murray's counter-attacking negating his opponent's threat.
Roger-Vasselin, at the age of 30, is at a career-high 35th place in the world rankings, but Wimbledon champion Murray had his number early on.
The underdog saved two set points in the opener, but Murray created a third with a powerful forehand down the line and followed it up with another telling winner that clipped the left line.
A break in the second game of the second set put Murray in control, and although it was not convincing from the second seed after that, he closed the door each time Roger-Vasselin created an opening.
Murray faced two break points in the fifth game and again in the seventh, but each time he climbed out of the hole, and he sealed his progress when Roger-Vasselin chipped a backhand inches long.
Awaiting Murray in the second round is Austrian Dominic Thiem, who got the better of Finland's Jarkko Nieminen in a deciding set.
Tommy Haas followed his run to the Zagreb final with a battling first-round win.
German veteran Haas had an impressive week in Zagreb and went straight from there, where he lost out to Marin Cilic for the silverware, to this week's Dutch venue and a tricky opener against Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
Haas, 35, was competing at the Rotterdam event for the first time and slugged it out with Verdasco for two-and-a-half hours before coming through a 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/1) 7-5 winner, to set up a clash with Jerzy Janowicz in the second round.
"It was a tough match. I had a couple of chances in the first set, up a break and then in the tie-break," sixth seed Haas said on atpworldtour.com. "I felt I got a little unlucky, when he took it. I did well to recover a break in the third set, so I am pleased that I stayed with him."
Top seed and defending champion Juan Martin del Potro also overcame a potentially awkward opponent as the Argentinian beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 7-6 (8/6) 6-3.
Monfils' compatriots Richard Gasquet and Nicolas Mahut survived the opening round. Fourth seed Gasquet edged out Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 67(5/7) 7-6 (7/2) 6-3, and Mahut was a 7-5 6-3 winner against German Daniel Brands.
Austrian Dominic Thiem got the better of Finland's Jarkko Nieminen by a slender 6-4 4-6 6-4 margin, setting up a clash with Murray.
Croatian Cilic, who has been back on tour since October after a four-month doping ban, claimed the scalp of French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Wednesday's final match in Rotterdam.
Unseeded Cilic was a 6-4 6-4 winner as he became the first player to go through to the Rotterdam quarter-finals.