Bogdanovic enjoys day in the sun as Murray feels strain

Andy Murray is the one certainty to play in the singles in Britain's Davis Cup tie against Argentina next month, but the 20-year-old Scot found himself upstaged here yesterday by the two men fighting it out to fill the No 2 slot.

While a jet-lagged Murray was losing to Marat Safin in the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament, Alex Bogdanovic and Jamie Baker both enjoyed good victories over higher-ranked opponents in the first round of qualifying for next week's Australian Open. Bogdanovic beat America's Robby Ginepri, a former US Open semi-finalist, 6-3, 6-1, while Baker overwhelmed Russia's Yuri Schukin 6-2, 6-0.

This could be a make-or-break year for 23-year-old Bogdanovic. Having hit a career-high No 108 in the world rankings last summer, he has slipped to No 180 and will be hoping that Brad Gilbert can turn his fortunes around. The Lawn Tennis Association has asked the American coach, who parted company with Murray at the end of last year, to work with the British No 2. Gilbert is not here with Bogdanovic, who is being assisted instead by Peter Lundgren, Britain's Davis Cup coach, but will join his new charge on the road next month.

Ginepri, 25, who was world No 15 only two years ago but has dropped to No 132, was below his best physically, but is a good scalp for Bogdanovic, who now plays the Czech Republic's Pavel Snobel or Germany's Simon Stadler.

John Lloyd, Britain's Davis Cup captain, is here and must have been equally impressed by Baker. The world No 217 never looked in trouble against Schukin, who is 97 places above him in the world rankings, and earned a second-round tie against Austria's Alexander Peya. Anne Keothavong, Katie O'Brien, Elena Baltacha and Mel South were all due to play in the women's qualifying competition today.

Murray is the only Briton with a high enough ranking to go directly into the Australian Open and is completing his preparations as one of an eight-man elite field at Kooyong. Having arrived late from Doha, where he won the title at the weekend, Murray then had his first match here brought forward to earlier in the day than he had expected. He lost 6-1, 6-4 and said later that he had felt so unwell that he nearly redecorated the new Plexicushion surface at Kooyong – which matches the relaid courts at the Australian Open – with the chicken sandwiches he had just eaten. "I hadn't had my lunch too long before the match, so in some of those long rallies I felt like it was all about to come up," he said. "Obviously, you want to play well here, but the most important thing for me is to get in 100 per cent shape come Monday."

In the women's event in Sydney, Justine Henin began her year with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of Estonia's Kaia Kanepi. The world No 1's next opponent will be Ana Ivanovic.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
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.

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game