Andy Murray was delighted to spend as little time on court as possible on the hottest day of the Australian Open so far, as he cruised into the third round in Melbourne.
Murray took just an hour and 42 minutes to beat Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena, where the temperature climbed above 90 degrees (32C).
The 27-year-old Scot will face Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the last 32 after Sousa was leading 32nd seed Martin Klizan by two sets to one and 1-0 in the fourth set when Klizan was forced to retire.
“I started the match extremely well and I think Marinko was a bit slow in the beginning but he improved as the match went on,” Murray said in an on-court interview.
“There were a few tight games in the second and third sets that could have gone either way but I managed to win those.
“I’m pumped to be through in a fairly quick match as it was hot, especially when the sun was out.”
Murray needed just 21 minutes to take the opening set as Matosevic, the world No. 81, appeared overwhelmed by the occasion.
Sixth seed Murray had won the pair’s previous three meetings without dropping a set, including in the Hopman Cup earlier this month and in the second round of the French Open last year.
Matosevic, who had lost all 12 of his grand slam matches before his opening victory at Roland Garros, was then comprehensively outclassed by Murray and even from the early stages looked in severe danger of being so again in his home city.
The 29-year-old won just three points in the first five games and received a sympathetic cheer from the crowd when he finally troubled the scorers to reduce his arrears. However, Murray looked in no mood to share such sympathy and closed out the set with ease to leave Matosevic with a mountain to climb to become the first Australian to beat Murray at tour level.
A double fault from Matosevic helped give Murray a break of serve in the opening game of the second set, but it was two moments of brilliance from the Scot which secured another break in game five.
Matosevic could only look on as a backhand return from Murray sailed by for a winner and then was unable to retrieve a perfectly-judged lob which landed just inside the baseline.
An apparent lapse in concentration from Murray allowed Matosevic to instantly get one of those breaks back and it was with some relief that the former Wimbledon champion held his next service game to lead 5-3.
And Murray then pressured Matosevic into more unforced errors to break serve again and take the second set, with just over an hour on the clock.
It became just a matter of how quickly Murray could seal his place in the third round and he recovered from 40-0 on Matosevic’s serve to break for a 2-0 lead. The three-time Australian Open finalist had to save a break point to consolidate his advantage – much to his annoyance – as the home fans tried desperately to inspire Matosevic to make it more of a contest.
However, Matosevic was soon facing match points on his own serve and although he saved the first two, two forehand errors completed a miserable performance and gifted Murray another break to complete a comfortable win.
That extended his record to 10-0 against Australians and Murray added: “I had no idea that was the case but with the players the Aussies have coming through I’m not sure I will be able to keep that record much longer.”
Roger Federer, pictured above, dropped the first set against Simone Bolelli in this morning’s second-round tie, but battled back to book his spot in the last 32.
Bolelli, who is ranked 48 in the world, played the perfect first set, dominating with his forehand as he took it 6-3. However, that was as good as it got for the Italian as No. 2 seed Federer took the second set 6-3 before running away with the third and fourth to record a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 success.
Federer was joined in the third round by seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who ousted Jurgen Melzer 7-6 (7/0), 6-2, 6-2, while 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who is a potential opponent for Andy Murray in the last 16, defeated hard-hitting Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-7 (10/12), 6-3, 6-3. Murray’s next opponent, Joao Sousa, benefited from an injury to Martin Klizan as the Portuguese went through 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 1-0 (by retirement), while there was a shock of sorts as Belgian 20th seed David Goffin crashed out to former Melbourne finalist Marcos Baghdatis as the Cypriot pulled off a 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 triumph.