Murray blitzes Soeda in the blistering heat

By for MurraysWorld.com on
In searing temperatures, Andy Murray conserved maximum energy in the first round of the Australian Open today, blitzing Japan’s Go Soeda 6-1 6-1 6-3 in less time than a football match.

It was a dream start for the Scot, who endured a back operation late last year and had played just three ATP matches since September. The world number four had, though, managed a full winter training block in Florida, for which he was no doubt grateful when the tournament inexplicably declined to bring the extreme heat policy into force.

When Murray and his 112th-ranked opponent took the court at around 5pm local time, the mercury was touching a brain-boiling 41C. No great roof lover, at least at Wimbledon, Murray must for once have wished for the whirr and buzz of Hisense’s retractable roof and air-conditioning.

The overhanging roof did at least offer some shade as the match kicked off. Although the Japanese began with a sound service game, the Brit thereafter started to tear him apart. Soeda’s short, lightweight groundstrokes were dispatched with pulverising efficiency into the corners of the court.

Murray, who has consistently played down his chances here in the light of his lack of match fitness, will be particularly pleased with the 12 aces that flashed past Soeda and the sound 69% first-serve strike rate.

Murray took a firm grip on the match very early on, navigating his way around Hisense in his customary preternatural way and breaking twice to win the first set at a canter.

The second set was more of the same, with the lean and rangy Scot rattling off nine games on the trot and powering to a two-set lead with flawless tennis. At 3-3 in the third, Murray broke both his opponent’s serve and his will, from which point he surged to a sweet victory.

As the final forehand ripped past Soeda, the fourth seed’s clenched fist and expression of pure joy painted a mental picture of a man whose doubts had been firmly laid to rest. There should be more of the same when Murray takes on world number 267 Vincent Millot in the second round.
add comment | 25 comments
I didn't think you would pass up the opportunity to say Murray passes Go - I was wrong! Didn't see the match of course, but seems to have gone well in arduous conditions.
January 14, 2014, 11:49 AM
By Fiverings

Thanks for a workman like report of what we were all hoping the match would be  a straight forward victory for Andy  Lets hope the match against Millot will be the same
January 14, 2014, 12:09 PM
By benniebone

Good report as ever, Nigel.

Didn't watch the match, too much on my plate currently, so need the rest.

Incidentally, was Kim there?
January 14, 2014, 12:45 PM
By OldScotSupport

Good report as ever, Nigel.

Didn't watch the match, too much on my plate currently, so need the rest.

Incidentally, was Kim there?

Yup, she was there. Pics in her thread...
January 14, 2014, 12:56 PM
By Sabine

Incidentally, was Kim there?
She was, although the camera only focussed on her once.

Good report Nigel of what was a truly amazing match.  If Andy had any doubts about his comeback surely they will have been dispelled.  He played almost flawless tennis in the first two sets and Soeda was only allowed a brief sniff of a chance at the start of the third when Andy's intensity dropped a little, which was hardly surprising given the suffocating heat the players had to endure.  Like Nigel I found it inexplicable, and unacceptable, that the Extreme Heat Policy wasn't brought into effect and the roof closed.

It was also great to hear the ANDY boys giving him their usual full vocal support. 


January 14, 2014, 01:25 PM
By Aileen

Like Nigel I found it inexplicable, and unacceptable, that the Extreme Heat Policy wasn't brought into effect and the roof closed.

Wet bulb test... whatever that is. I have a pal in Melbourne. He emailed me at 7pm his time to tell me it was 44 degrees C. The day just continued to get hotter.
January 14, 2014, 01:48 PM
By Grabcopy

I watched most of the second and third sets before I had to go to work (from one set and 1-0 up to 5-3 in the final set).  Brilliant tennis in the second set and easily good enough in the third at least on serve.  I think Soeda cranked it up a bit in the third with a "nothing to lose" mentality coming through.

Good to get off court as soon as possible though.

Hope to see some of the next match as well.
January 14, 2014, 02:18 PM
By Fluffy

She was, although the camera only focussed on her once.

Good report Nigel of what was a truly amazing match.  If Andy had any doubts about his comeback surely they will have been dispelled.  He played almost flawless tennis in the first two sets and Soeda was only allowed a brief sniff of a chance at the start of the third when Andy's intensity dropped a little, which was hardly surprising given the suffocating heat the players had to endure.  Like Nigel I found it inexplicable, and unacceptable, that the Extreme Heat Policy wasn't brought into effect and the roof closed.

It was also great to hear the ANDY boys giving him their usual full vocal support. 



I couldn't put it any better Aileen, the signs are so encouraging...I feel Andy will be back better than ever, no expectations, no pressure and no back pain to hinder his movement. yay hug
January 14, 2014, 02:36 PM
By michelle

I taped all the coverage overnight, but when I played it this morning they only showed 3 games of the entire match. Frown This was due to the incredible fight between Hewitt and Seppi (Rusty even had a match point.)

But what I saw I liked A LOT.

The temperature is certainly hot, but they don't have the humidity. Andy is used to much more brutal conditions because the humidity is a killer, so I'm not concerned about that at all. He's well used to that this side of the pond.
January 14, 2014, 02:52 PM
By scotnadian

Superb report from the Baird of MW!  clap
I was at work but checked live scores. Well played by Andy in blast furnace lik conditions!
Hope he rehydrates and gets some shade!

Well done our lad.
January 14, 2014, 03:32 PM
By lashurst

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