Andy Murray Breezes Through In Melbourne
19 January 2016, 07:23
Andy Murray gave German teenager Alexander Zverev a nosebleed as the British number one sailed into the Australian Open second round with a straight sets win.
Zverev had to take a break in just the second game in Margaret Court Arena when his nose began to gush and while he stemmed the bleeding, he was unable to stop the flow of Murray, who won 6-1 6-2 6-3.
Murray, seeded second in Melbourne, will now face big-serving Australian Sam Groth in round two.
"It got tough at the end, there were a lot of long games and rallies - Alex fought hard and made it very competitive,'' Murray said.
"He's young, he's one of the best young players in the world and he's going to be around for a long time.
"It was hot conditions today, especially when the clouds went, so I was glad to get it done in three sets.''
Much of the build-up to Murray's first grand slam of the year has been centred on his focus, with wife Kim due to give birth in less than a month and his revelation he would quit the tournament if the baby arrived early.
There will admittedly be tougher tests to come, but on this evidence the world number two would seem unperturbed, producing a professional and clinical performance in temperatures approaching 33 degrees Celsius.
Zverev, ranked 83rd in the world, is widely considered one of the game's rising stars but the winner of last year's ATP Star of Tomorrow Award was made to look raw as Murray led a harsh lesson in the demands of the top level.
The first set was less an induction than a baptism of fire as Zverev endured a series of awkward moments, the first coming in just the second game as a nose bleed caused him to spend six minutes worth of medical time-out with his face up in the air and a tissue on his face.
Finally back on court but understandably flustered, the teenager proceeded to fired off two double faults and gift Murray an early break, which the Scot consolidated, not least with a booming ace that flew straight through the body of his beleaguered opponent, who stared, mystified, at his racket while the audience tittered.
Murray was cruising, happy to applaud the occasional moment of brilliance coming from the other end but safe in the knowledge that errors would continue to follow.
It so proved in the sixth game, which Zverev began with a brilliant forehand winner but then ended with another double fault to hand Murray the double break and a 5-1 lead.
The teenager challenged the call - the second of three reviews he made in just four points - before flopping his hands into the air, as if nothing more could go wrong in the opening half an hour.
Murray meanwhile had needed to do little more than stay consistent, his first serve reliable and his groundshots typically penetrating but it would be too much to say he was dictating the points.
He did not need to, as Zverev conceded another break in the first game of the second set and when a clinical Murray pass sealed the double break for 4-1, victory seemed just around the corner.
Zverev grew in confidence as the match entered its latter stages, his early tension perhaps released by Murray's dominance, but even the most entertaining rallies largely ended with the Briton on top.
Serving to stay in the match at 5-3, the youngster staved off two match points but was unable to defend a third as a forehand into the net confirmed Murray's win in two hours and seven minutes.