MADRID (AFP) - Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray cruised to an important win on Monday (Aug 26), not at the US Open but at a second-tier Challenger Event against a teenager with just US$150 (S$208) in career earnings.
Double Olympic champion Murray ($61 million in earnings), shunned the New York spotlights as he chased his first singles win since hip surgery in January.
And the move paid off as he swept past French 17-year-old Imran Sibille 6-0, 6-1 who only squeezed into the draw as an alternate on his professional debut.
After undergoing hip surgery in January following his first-round exit from the Australian Open, former world number one Murray began easing his way back by playing doubles, starting with a title at Queen's in June.
The 32-year-old returned to singles this month and was beaten in straight sets by Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati.
He then lost to American Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open.
Monday's morale-boosting victory in Mallorca came at the tennis academy run by Rafael Nadal.
Playing on the Challenger Tour for the first time in 14 years he required only 43 minutes to despatch Sibille, winning five of his seven break points.
Murray, whose ATP ranking has slipped to 328, next faces world number 115 Norbert Gombos of Slovakia in the second round on Tuesday.