Andy Murray cruises into round two of Australian Open

British number one has no problems advancing in Melbourne

Andy Murray insisted he felt no different going on court today as a Grand Slam champion, but the world No 3 delivered a performance that spoke volumes for the confidence generated by his US Open victory last year. Murray got his Australian Open campaign under way with a crushing 6-3,  6-1, 6-3 victory over Robin Haase, the world No 53, to earn a second-round meeting with Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Playing his first match at a Grand Slam tournament since his victory four months ago over Novak Djokovic in the final in New York, Murray took charge from the start. Haase, a 25-year-old Dutchman whose big-hitting style can trouble the very best, was never allowed to settle into a rhythm as the unshaven Murray came out bristling with aggression.

The Scot’s form was as bright as the sun on a day when the weather improved markedly. It had been distinctly cool in recent days here, but in the blazing sunshine the temperature was soon topping 20C. The conditions, which will become much hotter in the next two days, were ideal for tennis.

“I thought I did a pretty good job from the start of dictating the points and not giving him too many freebies,” Murray said afterwards. “It was very different conditions to what it's been the last four or five days, so the court was playing much different.  The ball was bouncing a lot higher.  It was much livelier.”

The match opened the day’s programme in Rod Laver Arena. The main show court can be quite deserted at the start of play at 11am, but such is Murray’s pulling power that it was already half full when the Scot walked out. By the end of the first set there were few seats unfilled. Murray has always enjoyed strong backing here and a group of four young cheerleaders who have regularly supported him over the years were in good voice.

Haase had won his first match against Murray five years ago and had taken the Scot to five sets at the 2011 US Open in their only other meeting. On this occasion, however, Murray barely gave the Dutchman a chance to show his ball-striking ability. Murray went on the attack from the start, pushing Haase back and forcing him to defend.

From 1-1 in the first set Murray won four games in a row to take charge of the match. Haase broke back to trail 5-3, Murray netting an attempted drop shot on break point, but the Scot responded in kind, breaking serve for the third time to take the first set in 41 minutes.

The second set followed a similar pattern, but on this occasion Murray kept up the pressure from the moment he broke with the score at 1-1. With Haase looking increasingly dispirited, the Scot won nine of the next 10 games. It was to Haase’s credit that he refused to throw in the towel, but Murray secured victory with his eighth break of serve of the match, the Dutchman hitting a forehand long on the first match point.

Murray said that being a Grand Slam champion had made no difference to him going into the match.  “I was still nervous before I went on,” he said.

“I think when I would see the benefits of that is if I get myself deep into a Slam this year and you're playing against the top players. I think that’s when you'll draw on that experience and use it in the right way. But personally I don't think it makes a huge amount of difference to how you feel at the beginning of events.”

Murray has never played against or practised with his next opponent.  Sousa, the world No 100, has played mainly on the Challenger circuit. Until today the 23-year-old Portuguese had played only one match in the main draw at a Grand Slam event, losing to Spain’s Marcel Granollers at last year’s French Open.

Having earned his place in the draw of a Grand Slam tournament by dint of his world ranking for the first time, Sousa earned his meeting with Murray in convincing fashion by beating Australia’s John-Patrick Smith, the world No 237, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4. Murray, nevertheless, is sure to provide a challenge of a very different order.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015