DOHA: Andy Murray began 2017 where he left off last year, beating Jeremy Chardy in straight sets in his season opener in Qatar on Tuesday to register his 25th consecutive victory.
The world number one secured a 6-0, 7-6 victory, breezing through the first set in just 20 minutes before the Frenchman rallied in the second.
“He didn’t start so well, it’s always difficult the first match of the year,” said Murray of his opponent.
“In the second set he played extremely well, he was a lot more aggressive. There was a lot of good tennis in the second set.”
The last time Murray was beaten was back in September 2016 by Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the Davis Cup, more than 100 days ago.
During his unbeaten run he has won five consecutive titles and snatched the world’s number one spot from Novak Djokovic.
Murray is the number one seed in Doha and Djokovic, the defending Qatar Open champion, is number two.
If matches go to form the top two players in the world will meet in a mouthwatering final on January 7.
Earlier on Tuesday, France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also progressed to the second round, but only after seeing off a determined fightback from Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
The world number 12 won 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 to set up a last-16 encounter with Germany’s Dustin Brown.
Tsonga, who was playing his first match in Doha since taking the Qatar Open title in 2012, breezed through the opening set in just 23 minutes and looked on course for an easy victory.
But Kuznetsov, ranked 46 in the world, struck back in the second set, breaking Tsonga’s serve in the 10th game to take the match into a deciding set, a seemingly unlikely scenario just 30 minutes earlier.
Tsonga though hit better form in the final set.
“I played pretty good in the first set, then I was waiting a little bit more in the second for the good shot,” Tsonga said.
“It was a good match. Good to win.”