Andy Murray justifies his Madrid wildcard by beating Dominic Thiem

Andy Murray Montreal Masters

Andy Murray had to answer some critics after he made a late decision to take a wild card for the Madrid Open, but the former world No 1 justifies that decision as he saw off Dominic Thiem in straight sets.

The three-time grand slam champion triumphed 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 42 minutes against 2020 US Open winner Thiem, who is still seeking his first victory following his recent comeback from a wrist injury.

Murray is playing in the Spanish capital as a wildcard having reversed his decision to skip the entire clay-court season.

This was his first match back on the surface in almost two years and his first win on clay since 2017.

The 34-year-old Scot broke his Austrian opponent once in each set to go 4-2 up in the first and then 2-1 ahead in the second.

He will now face Denis Shapovalov in the next round after the Canadian beat France’s Ugo Humbert 7-6 (1), 6-3.

Murray, who has been working again with coach Ivan Lendl, told Amazon Prime: “I had hardly played on it (clay) for the last five years really, but I did four weeks of training on it before coming here so I felt maybe more comfortable than I usually do right at the beginning of the clay-court season and I played well.

“I thought Dominic was playing well at times, but he’s obviously just started playing again as well, so making a few more mistakes than usual.

“But I was happy with how I played and I moved particularly well and that’s something I’ve been working on a lot the last four weeks and it changes the way I play the game.”

Compatriot Cameron Norrie also moved into round two, beating Soonwoo Kwon in two tough sets.

The British number one held his nerve at key moments to edge out his South Korean opponent 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 49 minutes and now faces big-serving American John Isner.

Top seed Novak Djokovic’s opponent in round two will be Gael Monfils, who won against Carlos Gimeno Valero, while others progressing included Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman, victors over Tommy Paul and Benoit Paire respectively.