1ST LEAD: Satisfied Murray makes it look easy in win over Mathieu
Indian Wells, California - Andy Murray began the concluding week of the Indian Wells Masters in sparkling form, reaching the last 16 with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 victory Monday over Paul-Henri Mathieu.
The fourth-seeded Scot needed only an hour and a quarter to earn his third win without a defeat against the Frenchman, ranked 33rd. Murray fired six aces and broke five times to roll through.
The result improved Murray to 17-1 on the season, which has included titles at Doha and Rotterdam, where he beat number 1 Rafael Nadal for the trophy.
"I'm not putting any pressure on myself to play well this week. I'm just taking it each match at a time," said Murray.
"Miami (from next week) is my priority. If can get through my first few matches and feel good, you never know what will happen. I just need to concentrate."
He evaluated his own play, especially hitting the ball, as "a lot better" than during his first match last week in Indian Hills.
"I served big when I needed to and moved very well again," Murray said. "Bar a couple games where I lost my concentration a little bit, it was a very solid match."
Mathieu is one of eight Frenchmen in the top 50, with four now remaining in the desert event. Murray, who lifted two Masters titles in 2008, notched his 50th career victory at the elite level with his win over Mathieu.
Chile's Fernando Gonzalez knocked out 13th-seeded James Blake 7-5, 6-1, as the US player's patchy form continues. German Philip Kohlschreiber beat Ecuadoran veteran Nicolas Lapentti 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Three-time winner Roger Federer was playing later, taking on the huge serve of Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic.
In women's play, Polish seventh seed Agnieszwa Radwanska crushed Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-4, while Italian 12th seed Flavia Pennetta came back to oust American Angela Haynes 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. (dpa)