Murray’s tactics were to keep the ball low in the wind that played around the Rod Laver Arena and to hit off pace to the belligerent 19 year old. Apart from a spell in the second set when the Aussie rallied, they worked a treat.
Kyrgios has talent, but there is work to do if he is not to be seen merely as the showman he professes to be. Tweeners and tantrums don’t win you grand slams.
The match opened with Murray looking solid and serving like a dream. The Scot continually ...
A sluggish start saw Murray, who throughout looked as calm and composed as a monk meditating by a millpond, slip to a 0-3 deficit. But the Scot began to get more purchase on the ball, driving hard, deep and wide to level at 3-3.
At 4-4, 30-30 on his own serve, the Bulgarian drove an errant forehand down the line. Then, on the second of some 19 break points that Murray would enjoy on an unseasonably chilly Melbourne evening, he clipped away a forehand to seal the break. The Brit held without drama for a 6-4 first set.
For two and a half sets the three-time finalist was in a league of his own on Hisense arena, but a small wobble in the third set gave Sousa the chance to make a match of it before Murray eventually clinched it after just over two hours on court.
Sousa came out firing, regularly attacking the Murray second serve as he looked for an early foothold in the match. But the Brit fended off the early danger, saving a break point at 1-1 thanks in no small part to some savvy serving.
And the sixth seed came alive in the next game, bringing up his first break point with a couple of...
The gulf in class between the Scot and his Australian opponent was obvious from the start. Murray cantered into a 5-0 lead in under 15 minutes, seeing out the set for the loss of just one point on serve and one unforced error.
The second and third sets were slightly closer affairs, but Murray quickly found another gear when he needed to. Moments of danger were few and far between. A brief wobble at 4-1 in the second set was quickly arrested, and a break point in the middle of the third was saved.
The Scot's shot making and movement were exemplary, with the cross-court forehand particularly impressing. The ...
22-year-old Bhambri is currently ranked 317th in the world but had a career-high ranking of 143 last February before being sidelined by injury for five months. His aggressive game certainly made things tricky at times for the sixth seed, who did well to recover from a 1-4 deficit in the third set.
Murray took the initiative early on, breaking to take a 3-1 lead. But a poor volley put him back on serve in the seventh game. He...
The tough proposition results from the Scot’s world ranking of six, which puts him at risk of facing members of the top four from the quarter-finals onwards.
If the sharp end of the men’s singles looks especially jagged, Murray can at least look forward to a relatively benign opener against a qualifier.
From there, he’ll likely face Aussie Marinko Matosevic and then the dangerous Martin Klizan in round three. Murray could then play Grigor Dimitrov, the man who ended his Wimbledon reign last year, in the round of 16.
Murray’s route ...
Australian Open: 19 January - 1 February