ANDY MURRAY secured a place in the third round of the Australian Open today after a routine victory over Ukrainian Illya Marchenko.
Marchenko, ranked 79 in the world, promised "trouble" for the British number one beforehand, but it never really materialised as Murray won 6-1 6-3 6-3 without ever hitting top gear.
The fifth-seeded Scot will meet Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez next as he continues his bid to land a first grand slam crown.
Murray sprinted through the first set in front of a raucous sell-out crowd on Margaret Court Arena, taking it in just 29 minutes.
He made a strong start, holding comfortably before getting a crucial early break in game two after outlasting Marchenko in some probing baseline exchanges.
And despite twice being taken to deuce on his serve, Murray held on, while in between breaking again with a wonderful backhand cross-court pass at 30-40.
Marchenko deservedly got on the scoreboard in the sixth game but Murray closed the set out.
It was important Marchenko made a strong start to the second if the match was not to run away from him and he did just that, holding to 30.
And he continued his improvement in the next game, two booming
forehands and a crunching backhand giving him three break points - his first of the match.
Murray saved two but not the third as he netted a routine backhand to give the Ukrainian a 2-0 lead.
Marchenko promptly undid all his hard work, however, a horrible shank on break point getting the set back on serve.
Murray again looked vulnerable at 1-2 but two big first serves got him out of trouble.
Both players were becoming irritated by the line-calling and with the court not having Hawk-Eye there was no method of appeal.
Marchenko got a particularly bad call in the first point of the fifth game. He slapped a forehand from close to the net on to the line only for the umpire to call it out, prompting the incensed Ukrainian to tell the official to "open your eyes".
The incident seemed to affect the 23-year-old from Dneprodzerzhinsk and he lost his focus, losing his serve after dumping a weak forehand into the net.
Murray held before seeing a break point at 4-2 come and go as Marchenko held him at bay.
And although Murray was looking far from comfortable on serve himself, he managed to make it 5-3 and then took the set by breaking Marchenko due to a wayward forehand which flew beyond the baseline.
A tight start to the third set was ended when Murray broke to love to establish a 4-2 lead.
He almost clinched the match with Marchenko serving at 3-5 down, one stunning forehand pass on the run bringing the crowd to its feet.
But he made no mistake in the next game as Marchenko failed to control a forehand, ending the contest after one hour and 57 minutes.