Andy Murray could not have asked for anything more as he cruised through to the third round of the Australian Open on the hottest day of the tournament so far in Melbourne.
Murray took just an hour and 42 minutes to beat Marinko Matosevic 6-1 6-3 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena, where the temperature climbed above 90 degrees.
Victory over a player with the nickname ‘Mad Dog’ extended Murray’s perfect record against Australian players at tour level to 10-0, and the sixth seed then learnt that he would not have to face 32nd seed Martin Klizan in round three.
Klizan struggled in the heat and retired at the start of the fourth set when trailing 2-1 to Portugal’s Joao Sousa, the world No 55 who Murray has beaten three times without dropping a set.
Murray needed just 21 minutes to take the opening set against Matosevic as the world No 81 appeared overwhelmed by the occasion, winning just three points in the first five games.
“I definitely started quite quickly today,” the Scot said. “I was timing the ball well on the return and serving well from the beginning of the match and it helped a lot because obviously the crowd were behind him.
“I managed to take the crowd out of it a little bit by starting that quickly. He did start off a bit slow. He made a few errors at the beginning of the match. But when I noticed his timing was a bit off I felt like I played quite smart and used a lot of variety; didn’t give him the same ball twice in a row.
“I’m pumped to be through in a fairly quick match as it was hot, especially when the sun was out.”
Roger Federer admitted he feared a shock exit. He lost the opening set of his second-round match to Italy’s Simone Bolelli before calling the trainer to Rod Laver Arena for what initially appeared to be a blister on the little finger of his right hand.
The Swiss star looked decidedly uncomfortable and ushered away an encroaching television cameraman – “Do you need to be so close?” – as he consulted the trainer, but recovered his composure to eventually secure a 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory.
“I thought Simone played really well in the first set, so I really had to fight until the middle of the third set and once I got the break I was able to relax a little bit, but it was tough and I’m really pleased to come through,” said Federer, who will face Italy’s Andreas Seppi in the last 32.
Maria Sharapova saved two match points on the way to a dramatic 6-1 4-6 7-5 victory over unheralded fellow Russian Alexandra Panova.
Seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard beat Kiki Bertens 6-0 6-3.