The first step of Andy Murray's journey toward his maiden Australian Open title was successful, as he made quick work of Alexander Zverev in straight sets (6-1, 6-2, 6-3) in the opening round of the first major of the year.
Murray, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, has made it to the final of the Australian Open in four of the last six years. Looking to inch closer to the career Grand Slam, Murray lost only six games to Zverev, who committed 43 unforced errors in Monday's match, compared to Murray's 20.
The Australian Open gave fans an update once the result was official:
Australian Open @AustralianOpen
Andy Murray races into the 2R, dropping just six games in a 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory over Alexander Zverev #AusOpen https://t.co/lf6ASZa4pT1/19/2016, 4:05:20 AM
While playing in one of the biggest tournaments of the year, Murray is preparing for something more important: for his wife Kim to give birth to their first child.
"My child is more important to me, and my wife is more important to me, than a tennis match," Murray said, per BBC Sport's Russell Fuller.
A monumental moment like the birth of a child could weigh heavily on the mind of any athlete, especially an individual in a major tournament. A contingent of Murray's fans urged his wife to hang on a bit longer, per Tennis Photos:
Tennis Photos @tennis_photos
A message for @andy_murray's preganat wife Kim... #AusOpen https://t.co/DKGFEwRLn71/18/2016, 10:00:02 AM
Murray didn't play like someone who has a lot going on in his personal life. Zverev's length (6'6") would usually be an advantage against a different opponent, but not against someone who has won two majors.
Regardless of how easy it seemed for Murray to breeze through his first-round match, he had to keep his eyes peeled, per the Tennis Island:
The Tennis Island @thetennisisland
Heads up, @andy_murray. https://t.co/ONaWv6rYzl1/19/2016, 2:41:11 AM
Murray breezed through the first two sets with hardly any drama. His serve was accurate, and his return game was fluent enough to make the tall German use more energy while roaming the court. Murray had lost only three games through two sets, and the humid air seemed to be affecting Zverev, per the Australian Open:
Australian Open @AustralianOpen
Alexander Zverev gets a nosebleed and calls for a medical timeout against Andy Murray #ausopen https://t.co/lrHzx9s6CJ1/19/2016, 2:11:59 AM
The first set was the difference-maker. Zverev committed 17 unforced errors, and Murray took advantage, committing only four unforced errors in the first seven games. Murray also won 82 percent of his first-serve points and lost only two net points (12-of-14).
Fans didn't expect an upset Monday, and Murray did what most believed he would do, ending his day early with a dominant victory. In the second round, he will play against Australia native Sam Groth, who defeated Adrian Mannarino in four sets Monday.
The temperature in Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon was 84 degrees with 30 percent humidity. Murray was just glad to get out of the match as soon as possible.
"It was hot so I was glad to get it done in three sets," Murray said, per BBC Sport.
The 18-year-old Zverev attempted to prolong the match to get somewhat of an advantage, but Murray did enough to put the young star away in a competitive third set.
"It got tough at the end and there were a lot of long games and rallies," Murray said, per the Guardian. "Alex fought hard and made it very competitive. He hung right in until the end...He’s one of the best young players in the world and he’s going to be around for a very long time. He made it very tough for me.”
Those are outstanding props given by one of the world's best, to one of the game's rising young stars that could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
For now, it's Murray's time and he wants another shot at the Australian Open.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!