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Data from Tennis Australia's Game Insight Group shows Andy Murray works harder per point than any other player on either tour, and he was made to work very hard indeed by Illya Marchenko for the best part of two and a quarter hours, before the Ukrainian began to wilt in the heat and Andy finally began to swing more freely from the baseline and cut down on the errors.
Conditions in Melbourne last week might be best described as pleasant, but the heat increased considerably and on-court conditions were much hotter, with the ball bouncing higher than usual, causing Andy more issues than just first match nerves. Marchenko put up a challenge from the start and broke Andy in the first game. Andy was rarely able to take control of the medium length rallies, performing best when the point ended in no more than four shots, the majority of Andy's points won came in points which ended after two shots.
Andy's first serve percentage was low - averaging 48% for the match - and his second serve did not reap the rewards it did at this time last year, when there was a noticeable increase of 8mph on average on his second delivery - up to 93mph average from 85mph the previous season, which had itself been an improvement on average speeds from 2013 and 2014.
In his opening match this year the speeds on his second serve frequently dipped to the mid-80s and below. The season is still very new, but having improved his second serve placement, depth, and speed over 2015-2016 it has been surprising to see Andy's second serve points won average down at 49% from the matches in Doha, from 54% average in 2016, and 52% in 2015.
The opponent awaiting in the second round is nineteen-year-old Andrey Rublev, who defeated Yen-hsun Lu in four sets to win his first main draw match at Slam level. Rublev is one of the youngest players in the top 200, and while he hasn't had the headline grabbing results of Zverev or Coric, has made steady progress up the rankings to reach his current career high of 152.
Statistics for the 2016 season suggest Rublev's returning is a weakness, but he attacked Lu's second serve, and converted 4 of 7 break points, whilst saving 19 of 22 on his own serve, firing down 19 aces, many when it really mattered. The hot conditions are likely to have suited Rublev as the higher bouncing ball in his opening match would be similar in some ways to the bounce on clay - the surface where his best results have come. The young Russian hits big and like Andy, might be described as a student of the game, and has talked about studying Roanic's serve, Nadal's footwork, and Federer's forehand as he grows his own game.
The match is scheduled to be played on Wednesday 18th January, the last match on Rod Laver Arena, at an estimated start time of 8.30pm local time, 9.30am GMT, and 3am CST.
The weather is forecast to be clear, temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius, dropping to 14 as the night progresses, humidity of 54% rising to 65%, and a southerly wind of 11mph. On-court conditions will therefore be cooler and the ball bounce would be expected to be lower than in the first round.
This is the first meeting between Andy and Rublev.