The World No 4 now stands 4-0 over Stakhovsky, a Ukrainian journeyman ranked 68th. Murray is working to reach the form which took him to a Roland Garros semi-final a year ago, with hopes of doing even better. He lost a Monte Carlo quarter-final last week to Tomas Berdych, who had to withdraw from this week’s competition in Spain.
The Scot ended with 16 winners and a dozen unforced errors, breaking on three of his five chances. He next plays either Santiago Giraldo of Colombia of Dutchman Robin Haase, a Monte Carlo quarter-finalist. “I played well and found my comfort zone form the first game,” said the winner, who broke four times. “Maybe he was a little tired. “This is a special tournament for me. I’m back in Barcelona and I want to do my best.”