Australian Open 2015: Andy Murray subdues Matosevic for place in Round 3

Andy Murray beats Marinko Matosevic in straight sets to reach the third round of the Australian Open

Marinko Matosevic is big, extrovert, and an admirer of the No6 seed at the Australian Open, Andy Murray.

A late bloomer, the 29-year-old Matosevic reached No39 in 2013, but despite winning a career-high 22 matches last year, he now sat at 81. He was, though, celebrating something special this year at his home tournament. He had won his first main-draw match in Melbourne after five first-round losses. The bad news was, he now faced Murray.

His reaction said it all: “I would rather not play him second round. I’d love to play him later on… He’s one of the best players in the world. He’s unbelievable physically. His skill level is probably second only to Roger… He’s just a good guy.”

Yes, Matosevic has not enjoyed good fortune when it comes to draws in Australia—Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils in his last three first-rounds. Then after winning his very first Grand Slam match in Paris last year, he faced Murray—and won just seven games. Dejà vu.

To make matters worse for the Australian, Murray is a fitter and more confident man than he was this time last year, when he was newly returned to the tour from back surgery. And it showed in the hot conditions on this Melbourne afternoon in a tournament where Murray has reached three finals, and not fallen short of the quarters since Matosevic played his first match here in 2010.

Murray raced to a 5-0 lead, barely dropping a point, and took the opening set, 6-1 in 21 minutes.

The second set last twice as long, as Matosevic fought back from a break and attacked the net with considerable success: 12 points from 13. But his error rate let him down, and Murray broke again to take the set, 6-3.

The third also saw Matosevic hit more winners than Murray, 11 of them, but he also made 17 errors to a very tidy six from the Briton. The match was done, 6-2, in little more than an hour and a half.

Murray was particularly pleased with how he started the match: “Definitely started quite quickly today. I was timing the ball well on the return and serving well from the beginning of the match, and it helped a lot because obviously the crowd were behind him. Managed to take the crowd out of it a little bit by starting that quickly.

“He did start off a bit slow, made a few errors at the beginning of the match. But when I noticed his timing was a bit off, I felt like I played quite smart and used a lot of variety; didn’t give him the same ball twice in a row.”

There was an opportunity, too, for Murray to talk about his coach Amelie Mauresmo. Matosevic made some well-publicised comments about Murray’s appointment last summer, but Murray was unfazed: “I get on well with Marinko. I spoke to him a little bit about what he said [about not having a woman coach]. He didn’t mean any harm. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion on anything.

“If he wants to get coached by a man, that’s absolutely fine. I have absolutely no issue with it at all. I still think he’s a good guy. I get on well with him. I wasn’t trying to prove a point at all when I was playing Marinko today. I was trying to win the match.”

Murray next meets Portugal’s Joao Sousa, who led 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 1-0 when No32 seed Martin Klizan retired from the match.

Murray defeated the 55th-ranked Sousa in their three previous encounters, including two years ago in the Australian Open second round.

“He fights hard. He has a great attitude. He doesn’t have one massive weapon, but he definitely gets the most out of his game. He’s physically in very good shape. He lasts the long matches well. He’ll make it tough for me.”

Also out of Murray’s quarter are No20 seed David Goffin, losing in four sets to former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, and No23 seed Ivo Karlovic, who lost in four sets to the young Aussie star, Nick Kyrgios.

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