BRITISH No1 Andy Murray admitted struggling with blustery conditions as he surged into the Australian Open third round with a straight-sets victory over Frenchman Marc Gicquel.
Fifth seed Murray looked in ruthless form as he despatched the world No57 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in less than two hours in Melbourne.
The triumph means he will face Gicquel’s compatriot Florent Serra in the last 32, and keeps him on course to meet world No2 Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.
But the Scot insisted it had been harder than it seemed, the wind posing problems he did not encounter in his first-round win, which was played under a roof.
“The wind was the hardest part,” he said. “I think I did well to keep my concentration from that, but the wind was the trickiest part because it’s kind of like a bowl – the wind kind of gets trapped in there and swirls around.
“Sometimes you think the ball is going one direction, and the wind is going one direction and then in the middle of the point it can change pretty quickly. That was tough. But I was happy with the way I played.”
Murray again struggled with his serve, Gicquel breaking him in the third set, but always rediscovered his touch when it mattered. “That’s when it’s important: to make them on the big points,” he added.
Defending champion Nadal is set to meet Murray in the last eight, after booking his passage to the third round by beating Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Seventh seed Andy Roddick will face Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the last 32 after they swept through round two, but US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was made to work far harder.
Fourth seed Del Potro was taken the distance before finally beating American former world No4 James Blake 10-8 in a deciding fifth set.