Andy Murray battled through blazing conditions at the 2014 Australian Open to romp past Go Soeda 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 on Tuesday, Jan. 14, as reported by Yahoo! Eurosport:
GAME SET AND MATCH! Andy Murray makes the second round with a 6-1 6-1 6-3 win over Go Saeda. http://t.co/5aMTyhY45J— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) January 14, 2014
The British star, who will be looking to finally clinch the Melbourne title after being defeated in three finals since 2010, played ruthlessly against the Japanese competitor, who just couldn't keep up with his variation of shots, raw power and stunning service game.
Murray hit 32 winners, 12 aces and only 13 unforced errors on his way to a straightforward victory in the opening round. After losing the first game—following three aces from Soeda—Murray maintained his focus to waltz through the opening set without a hitch.
An unforced error from Soeda gave Murray a double-break at 4-1 and, after having a challenge declined in the next game, the 26-year-old tied up the first set in just 23 minutes, as recorded by the Australian Open's official website.
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A smart backhand in the final game of that first set sent Murray on his way, and Soeda did very little to halt the Wimbledon winner from gaining momentum throughout the rest of the encounter.
Murray's authority from the baseline forced his opponent from one side of the court to the other, and he strung together nine straight games. Soeda eventually broke the patten with an ace at 3-1 in the second.
However, he soon fell victim to a trademark double-handed backhand from Murray to make the score 5-1. The Brit then notched his second set with a pinpoint serve, taking just 26 minutes in total to significantly influence the scoreboard once more.
Although Soeda managed to win three games in the third set, he was unable to quash a player who has started the competition in excellent form. Murray's service was impeccable throughout and his opponent just couldn't gain any type of foothold.
Soeda hit 23 winners and six aces but helped his rival with 33 unforced errors, compared to Murray's 13. He certainly didn't give up, but was easily beaten by the world No. 4.
Murray will be pleased with his initial showing and was in decent form for the most part. His concentration fluttered slightly during the third set, but he was never in trouble throughout the match and—crucially, given the weather—spent little time on court.
As tweeted by ESPN, the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will take notice, despite Murray's recent back surgery potentially slowing his game:
In less than 50 minutes Murray is up 6-1, 6-1. He is making a statement here that despite his low expectations he is here to compete.— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) January 14, 2014
Despite losing a Kooyong battle against Lleyton Hewitt in the lead-up to the Grand Slam, Murray entered this one suggesting his decision to initiate surgery could improve his game in the long run, per Paul Newman of The Independent:
"My back feels way, way better than it did before the surgery," he said. "That is what is very pleasing for me just now. The rest of the body hurts a little bit because I haven’t played."
With one decent game under his belt, British fans will be hopeful of seeing Murray conjure up another run to the final in the coming days.
Murray faces Vincent Millot in the second round.