Andy Murray tops Yuki Bhambri in 1st round of Australian Open
Two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray beat Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) Monday to begin another quest to win an elusive Australian Open title.
Playing in the newly refurbished Margaret Court Arena, Murray trailed 4-1 in the third set before coming back to level the set and then dominate Bhambri, the 2009 Australian Open junior champion, in the tiebreaker.
Murray has reached the final of the Australian Open three times, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2011 and 2013.
In between those losses to Djokovic, Murray won his first major at the 2012 U.S. Open and followed that up with a second Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 2013.
Murray said it was a ”tricky” match for him and that he was impressed with Bhambri, a 22-year-old former No. 1-ranked junior.
”He played very close to the baseline on that court, coming forward a lot,” Murray said. ”Even when I was hitting good returns, he was changing the direction of the ball very quickly and coming to the net. He had good hands, solid volleys and made it tough.”
Murray practiced on the arena’s new court two days ago when it was cloudy and cool. It was a different story on Monday under sunny skies and warmer conditions.
”The court was livelier,” Murray said. ”The court isn’t way faster, but obviously when you play in quicker conditions, the ball travels through the air quicker. Also maybe down to the way he was playing as well … hitting the ball very flat and coming to the net a lot.”
Murray, who next plays big-serving Australian Marinko Matosevic, has a tough draw that could involve a quarterfinal match against Roger Federer.
”I need to continue serving well,” Murray said of Matosevic. ”When you play against a big guy who likes to go for his shots, if you can keep good weight and depth … that can frustrate them. I’ll try and use some variety to throw his timing off a little bit.”
Beyond Matosevic, he’s not looking too far ahead.
”The year I won Wimbledon everyone was saying it was the hardest draw, and then a couple guys get knocked out,” Murray said. ”A lot can change in a couple of days in sport.”