Andy Murray of Britain serves during his match against Albert Montanes of Spain at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on Oct 7, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
BEIJING - Britain's Andy Murray struggled to find his rhythm as smoggy conditions again troubled the players at the China Open on Thursday.
Organisers switched on the floodlights early after thick smog drifted on to the showcourts but Murray managed to light up the gloomy atmosphere by dispatching Spaniard Albert Montanes 7-5 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals .
World number 24 Montanes initially refused to get intimidated by the second seed and fought toe-to-toe for much of the first set before finally surrendering the break.
Murray, 23, was in control in the second set and set up a last eight date with Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic.
"It took me a little bit of time to get into the match. It was different conditions today compared to the other day when I played," Murray told reporters.
"It was quite cool on the court, so it slowed the ball down a little bit.
"I was leaving the ball pretty short, so he was able to dictate a lot of the points, so that's why I struggled a bit early on."
Third seed Robin Soderling appeared to have problems keeping track of the ball in the smog but regained his focus to beat Spain's Nicolas Almagro 7-5 4-6 6-3.
Robin Soderling of Sweden celebrates after winning his second round match against Nicolas Almagro of Spain at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on Oct 7, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
"I executed my game plan really well. I served well and stayed aggressive because you have to against Nicolas. He hits the ball really hard and plays fast," said the Swede.
He next faces David Ferrer after the eighth seeded Spaniard overcame Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun 6-3 3-6 6-1.
Ljubicic defeated Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 7-6.