World No.1 Andy Murray in action.
World No.1 Andy Murray in action. STR

Murray continues winning streak in Doha

NEW season, new title, unchanged ambition and a familiar outcome - welcome to Sir Andy Murray's 2017.

Signalling nothing has changed in the aftermath of the best season of his career, Murray has put another challenger to the sword while posting a 25th consecutive victory.

Knighted in the New Year's Day honours, the Scot overwhelmed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy to reach the second round of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha 6-0 7-6 (7-2).

Determined to be recognised as a worthy world No.1, and desperate to avoid being addressed as "Sir Andy”, Murray extended a winning run that dates back four months.

His most recent defeat came against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in the Davis Cup in Glasgow in September - and he had no intention of allowing the sequence to end against flashy Chardy.

The Wimbledon and Olympic champion made only one unforced error in a flawless first set before closing out the match in clinical fashion in an ominous Australian Open preview.

"It's always difficult, first match of the year,” Murray said. "He pushed me hard and there was some good tennis in the end.”

The five-time Australian Open runner-up revealed post-match he continues to be driven by setbacks of the past, identifying bruising defeats as stinging motivation.

"The last five or six months of last year were by far the most consistent and best tennis I'd played, but I just had to keep improving,” he said.

"I'd lost a lot of tough matches, a lot of big finals against some of the best players of all-time and I just had to find a way to keep getting better, learn from my mistakes.

"I finally managed to get to No.1 at the end of last year after 12 years of trying.

"It was a lot of hard work to get there, a lot of ups and downs and tough losses along the way.

"Just kept fight and managed to get there.”

Murray will next face Gerard Melzer after the Austrian eliminated France's Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-2.

Former Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eased into the second round after staving off Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1 4-6 6-2.

German seventh seed Philipp Kohlschreiber overcame Tunisian Malek Jaziri 6-2 7-6 (7-3) before Croat veteran Ivo Karlovic dispatched Ukraine's Illya Marchenko 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-0) in a contest free of service breaks.

HERALD SUN



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