Been keeping an eye on Andy Murray this week in the Monte Carlo Masters Tournament on clay.
Here is the BBC commentary from his first two matches, I like Tom Fordyce for these as he has a great wit and allows the reader to feel as if they were there. Murray is now through to the third round and will face Novak Djokovic, update to follow.
Murray v Lopez as it happened
Monte Carlo Masters
First round result:
A MURRAY (GB) 14 bt F Lopez (Spa)
Murray 6-4 Lopez
Of course he won't. F-Lo saves one match point with a last-chance saloon blast on his forehand, but he nets with another and it's all over. Solid from the British number one on his clay court bow, and it'll be Italy's Filippo Volandri up next.
Murray 5-4 Lopez
Bottoms shift towards the edge of seats as F-Lo finally discovers his pluck and holds to love. Murray looks a touch edgy. Surely he won't...?
Murray 5-3 Lopez
Or are we? Lopez finds some fizzle at the bottom of the bottle and stuns Murray to break for the first time. No panic stations yet, but eyebrows are raised.
Murray 5-2 Lopez
Murray's best game of the match. With F-Lo looking to build on that tiny chance in the previous one, Murray unleashes two absolute rippers on his backhand - the second a devastating lob-pass. We're on the brink.
Murray 4-2 Lopez
Skinny surprise chance for F-Lo as a thoughtless Murray backhand goes long to set up a break point, but Murray lands two thumpers on first serve to clean up the mess.
Murray 3-2 Lopez
No second break, but Lopez has the confused look of a man trying to taste music. He calls for water at the changeover and slumps in his chair with a deep sigh.
Murray 3-1 Lopez
Lopez's forehand is as reliable as Pete Doherty. He gets to 30-30 but flops a limp one long, and Murray is cruising.
Murray 2-1 Lopez
Murray gets as over-ambitious as Oasis on Be Here Now as he tries a top-spin lob which flies straight out. F-Lo still doesn't look happy, though - he's all grimaces and heavy sighs out there.
Murray 2-0 Lopez
It's all happening for the leggy Scot - he holds in the blink of a hummingbird's eye, and F-Lo is wobbling like a pensioner on a windy pier.
Murray 1-0 Lopez
The sun slips behind a grey cloud as the two men stride back onto court. Who said Monte Carlo was perfect? Murray has clearly been drinking confidence juice at the changeover, however, as he comes out like a peak-era Mats Wilander and breaks immediately with a super forehand push-pass.
Murray 7-6 Lopez
Woeful mis-hit drop-shot from Murray puts him a mini-break down, but a lucky skip off the tape draws him level off F-Lo's first service point. Feliciano then goes long twice as a battle of backhand slices drives him insane, belts a forehand wide and looks to be out on his feet. He clings on to two service points but clouts a backhand out and Murray has his nose in front.
Murray 6-6 Lopez
Murray comes close to punching himself in the face with exasperation as he sets up a set point, only to blow it with a tepid forehand flap. A sensational lob takes him to deuce, but he throws away another chance and Lopez drives in three sizzling forehands to take us into the tie-break.
Murray 6-5 Lopez
Anything you can do, grumbles Murray, and holds to love in steely-eyed fashion. Bright sunshine as Lopez goes to his chair and buries his face in a bouncy towel.
Murray 5-5 Lopez
A sniff for Scotland's battler as he conjures up a miraculous stretchy backhand pass to go 0-30, only for Feliciano to streak through the next four points like a downhill rocket.
Murray 5-4 Lopez
Chance now for Murray as F-Lo goes to the changeover staring down the wrong end of a must-hold scenario. Small moment of drama as the umpire overules on a wide Lopez backhand and then leaps from his perch to show the Spaniard the smudge on the clay.
From placey1 on 606: "I expect Murray to win this game and progress in the tournament, maybe beating a big name on the way, just to the point where I think he'll win the whole thing and so place a bet on him. He'll then feebly lose the next match."
Murray 4-4 Lopez
Murray getting very little joy on the F-Lo serve so far, and we couldn't be more level - both players have won 23 points apiece.
Murray 4-3 Lopez
Rapid-fire hold to love for Murray as the cushioned seats around Court Central are gradually sat upon by privileged rear-ends.
Murray 3-3 Lopez
First yell of self-disgust from Murray as a running pass is pushed wide. He recovers with a splendid run-down of an airy F-Lo drop-shot, but then runs round his forehand to punt a woeful backhand way long. Level pegs once again.
Murray 3-2 Lopez
You can't move for drop-shots here - Murray forces Lopez deeper and deeper and then slices a devious devil just over the tape. Lopez battles back to break point by stepping up the aggression and coming in to the net to punch away a volley, but Murray finds a howitzer of a first serve and then leaves the Spaniard thrashing feebly at an out-of-reach lobber.
Murray 2-2 Lopez
Murray starts to mix it up, raking a whsitling backhand cross-court for a winner and then throwing in another disguised dropper. F-Lo comes up with a creamy drop-shot of his own and then seals the game when Murray misjudges another.
Murray 2-1 Lopez
Mama Judy scratches her nose up in the stands as her son holds again despite going long with an easy forehand. Low-key atmosphere so far - clearly a lot going on in the principality on Monday mornings.
Murray 1-1 Lopez
Super overhead backhand smash from leftie F-Lo, and he moves Murray around nicely to hold with ease. Murray's left ankle is strapped up with a black support, but he's moving smoothly at the mo.
Murray 1-0 Lopez
Solid start from Murray, a cunning backhand slice leaving Lopez stranded beyond the baseline, and he wins his opening service game to 15. Rivals in football as well as tennis, these two - Murray rooting for Barcelona, Lopez for Real Madrid. Spicy.
1131: Only one previous meeting between these two - a 7-5 6-2 cruise for Murray in Washington in 2006.
1128: The players are out on court. Murray's in a light grey t-shirt with navy piping, baggy white shorts and a white Fred Perry cap with a long, curved peak. Feliciano has a tight-fitting white t-shirt, long blue shorts and a navy headband.
1125 - from Alex DeLarge on 606: "Muzza should clinch it."
1120: I shouldn't complain, really - at least I've been to Monte Carlo, albeit for about 45 minutes in a listing van with a man called Ben Dirs.
Round Monaco in a campervan
1115: Idyllic scenes in Monte Carlo, where a soft spring sunshine is gently warming the faces of the millionaires who can be bothered getting out of bed to watch the tennis.
The bright orange of the cliff-top clay court stands out against the deep blue of the sparkling Mediterranean, and as a blossom-scented breeze ruffles tops of the pine trees, a brace of giggling ball-girls skip gaily down the tram-lines.
Meanwhile in Shepherd's Bush, where I am watching this match on a large TV screen, a cold drizzle falls from a joyless grey sky. To my right stands a rubbish bin overflowing with the stinking detritus of the weekend shift, while on my left, a small Welshman slowly chews his way through a cold piece of margarined toast.
Murray v Volandri as it happened
Monte Carlo Masters
A MURRAY (GB) bt F Volandri (Ita)
Murray 6-4 6-1 Volandri
There's still life in Volandri yet, as a smart volley which sets up two break-points shows. He sets up three more breaking opportunities before Murray finally comes up with some big serving to close out the match. Good win for Murray in the end, although he will need to step up a notch or two against third seed and friend Novak Djokovic on Thursday.
Murray 6-4 5-1 Volandri
After applauding him for his resilience earlier, I have to say Volandri has been inept in this second set, particularly on the backhand. And after Murray brilliantly scampers around, the Italian's forehand goes missing, a smash embarrassingly thudding into the net to hand Murray three more break-points. The first is taken and Murray is on the brink of securing a meeting with Djokovic.
Murray 6-4 4-1 Volandri
The words Jekyll and Hyde spring to mind. Murray serves up several more unforced errors to present Volandri a break-point only for the world number 42 to return in kind with some woeful efforts off the backhand.
Murray 6-4 3-1 Volandri
Rafael Nadal is an interested spectator. Or is he? He looks bored. He shouldn't be - Murray shows how to craft out a winning point with some patient play from the back of the court before he moves in to put away a volley. He finally realises what has looked obvious all along - if he stays in the point long enough Volandri will blunder. The Italian is broken to love and this shouldn't last much longer... should it?
Murray 6-4 2-1 Volandri
Murray continues to be maddeningly erratic. His radar is off for the first two points but then comes a classy backhand under pressure, only for him to float a drop-shot into the net. Break-point for Volandri but the 14th seed does enough to win the game.
Murray 6-4 1-1 Volandri
Anaemic serving and all-round play from Volandri gifts Murray two break-points. He saves the first with a near-miraculous drop-shot after a breathless rally and a pummelling backhand rescues the second. Murray is long and wide with a couple of shots to reprieve his beleaguered opponent.
Murray 6-4 1-0 Volandri
It's quite clear Volandri has no real attacking strategy here and just chipping the ball back hands Murray enough opportunities to ease through the opening game.
Murray 6-4 Volandri
This is Groundhog Day stuff. Murray mixes blistering winners with rushed errors again. However, a brilliant forehand pass and two mistakes from Volandri secure the set for Murray. Inconsistent he may have been but the British number one will be reasonably content.
Murray 5-4 Volandri
Terrific volleying from Murray has Volandri stumbling around desperately. He clearly has more weapons in his armoury but wily old Volandri is an object lesson for the young Scot in how to bide your time in points.
"Murray is infuriating when it comes to wasting break points....Still all is looking decent so far from Andy."
TABCCS on 606
Murray 4-4 Volandri
Murray mutters away, clearly unhappy with that last game. Both players are making more mistakes now and Corretja looks far from impressed. But Murray raises the bar with a fantastic backhand drop-shot to force another break-point, only to go long. Volandri hangs in there to see out the game but it's untidy stuff.
Murray 4-3 Volandri
Volandri hits back immediately with a tremendous backhand volley and cross-court forehand which forces a Murray error to give the Italian break-point. Murray nets his forehand and we're back on serve.
Murray 4-2 Volandri
Murray piles on the pressure with some fierce forehands and Volandri cracks, yielding three break-points and firing wide with a backhand on the first.
Murray 3-2 Volandri
No real drama so far but Murray does look a tad impatient at times, trying to finish points in a hurry - precisely what his clay-court guru Alex Corretja is trying to iron out.
Murray 2-2 Volandri
Quality play as Murray produces a clever lob only for Volandri to somehow come up with a backhand volley on the stretch. He won't be a pushover.
"Paresh Soni = I snap horse. Fascinating, huh? Prediction, Paresh? Murray in straight sets for me."
James Manning on 606
Not much to say on your first observation James but Murray's looking good so far. I agree with your prediction.
Murray 2-1 Volandri
Murray's again in control at the net and from the back of the court as he holds with no bother. Early days though.
Murray 1-1 Volandri
Murray clearly doesn't fancy the idea of long rallies here and unleashes some real aggression in his groundstrokes. A mistake from Volandri hands him a break-point but the Italian responds with a booming forehand of his own to save it.
Murray 1-0 Volandri
Good start for Murray. The first serve functions well and there are several deft volleys and drop-shots to secure the first game.
1440: The winner takes on third seed Novak Djokovic, who had few problems seeing off Ivan Ljubicic 6-3 6-3 in the previous match on court.
1433: Murray lost to Volandri in Rome two years ago and had an even more painful encounter with him at the Hamburg Masters last year. Leading 5-1 in the first set, he hurt his right wrist and was forced to miss the French Open and Wimbledon. He insists there are no scars left over from that day.
1429: Volandri's been around for more than a decade and has stacks of experience on clay. To be frank, it's the only surface he's happy on and had any success on, winning two ATP tour titles in St Poelten (2004) and Palermo (2006). His Andy Warhol moment came at the Rome Masters last year when he beat a chap called Roger Federer in straight sets in the last 16 and then, quite rightly, went on a lap of honour, doing high-fives with spectators.
1423: Hello and welcome to Andy Murray goes to Monte Carlo Part II. It was a fairly straightforward win for the British number one over Feliciano Lopez on Monday. This time he's up against 26-year-old Italian Filippo Volandri, who's ranked 42 in the world.