It was a case of new year, same old Andy Murray, as the world number one chalked up a 25th consecutive victory at the Qatar Open on Tuesday.
The Scot enjoyed a stellar 2016, winning Wimbledon and Olympic gold en route to usurping Novak Djokovic to end the year as the top player in the men’s game.
And, after Djokovic kicked off his campaign with a victory over Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday, Murray defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-0 7-6 (7-2) to extend his career-best winning streak in competitive matches.
Having wrapped up the first set in only 20 minutes, dropping just seven points, the 29-year-old faced a greater challenge in the second.
“He didn’t start well,” Murray, winner of this tournament in 2008 and 2009, said of his opponent.
“It’s always difficult, the first match of the year. Both of us were probably feeling a bit nervous.
“In the second set he played well. He was a lot more aggressive.”
Third seed Tomas Berdych triumphed 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 over Alessandro Giannessi to seal his progression, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is also into round two following a 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory against Andrey Kuznetsov.
There were also wins for Philipp Kohlschreiber, Karen Khachanov and Ivo Karlovic in Doha, while the bigger names in action at the Chennai Open avoided the fate that befell sixth seed Borna Coric, who crashed out to qualifier Chung Hyeon on Monday.
Seeded trio Benoit Paire, Mikhail Youzhny and Lu Yen-hsun all progressed to the second round, which will see Marin Cilic, Roberto Bautista Agut, Albert Ramos Vinolas and Martin Klizan join the competition.