BRITISH No1 Andy Murray banished his pre-tournament jitters by cruising into the
second round of the Australian Open.
The Scot sealed his progress Down Under after opponent Karol Beck retired with injury with the No5 seed leading 6-3, 6-1, 4-2.
Murray, still hunting a first grand slam, entered the tournament on the back of an unconvincing end to 2010, with a fourth-round exit from the US Open leading to his slip to fifth in the world rankings.
And he conceded to having doubts about his form before the tournament began, saying: “Everyone always has slight doubts before the start, you are always a bit nervous. It’s nice to be through to the second round with no drama.”
The 24-year-old took the opening set after breaking Beck’s first service game and then breezed through the second set as his game improved. Slovakian Beck called a medical timeout at 2-1 down in the third set and conceded defeat after dropping another service game. Murray faces something of an unknown quantity in the second round in Ukrainian Illya Marchenko. “I don’t really know him that well,” Murray added. “I saw him play a little bit when Ukraine played Great Britain in Davis Cup – he has improved a lot since then.”
Murray, who reached the final of last year’s tournament, was joined in the second round by world No1 Rafael Nadal who also progressed following an opponent’s injury. The Spaniard was 6-0, 5-0 ahead when Marcos Daniel retired hurt.
Should Murray make it to the quarter-finals he is expected for face Robin Soderling, who defeated Italian Potito Starace 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Home favourite Lleyton Hewitt crashed out to David Nalbandian in a epic encounter which ended 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 9-7.
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