Murray bullish over Slam prospects

World No 4 claims he is in the best shape of his career ahead of Australian Open

Andy Murray has grown accustomed to starting his year with a flourish but the 22-year-old Scot reckons he has never been in better shape going into the Australian Open. Murray believes he can win the year's first Grand Slam tournament, which begins in Melbourne in nine days' time, if can sustain the form he has show in the opening week of the season.

The world No 4 changed his early-season plans this year, skipping the Qatar Open, which he won in 2008 and 2009, in favour of representing Britain alongside Laura Robson at the Hopman Cup in Perth. He secured his third successive singles victory of the week yesterday, crushing Igor Andreev, the world No 35, 6-1, 6-0 with his best display so far.

Robson had earlier lost to Elena Dementieva, but the 15-year-old returned to partner Murray to a deciding 6-4, 6-7, 10-6 victory over the Russians in the mixed doubles, which earned a place in today's final against Spain's Tommy Robredo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

''If I play like that then I can win Australia for sure,'' Murray said of his win over Andreev. ''In terms of the way I've been striking the ball and moving and playing well up at the net and taking chances, that's probably the best I've played at the start of the year. Sometimes you play two, three matches like that a year – and fortunately one of them was today. Hopefully I've got a couple more in the Aussie Open.''

Murray, who was on court for barely three hours in his three singles matches in the round-robin phase, was also unbeaten in the mixed doubles. He needed to be as Robson lost all three of her singles matches, though the world No403 has played well all week considering her age. She has also played a big part in the doubles victories and has never looked over-awed in such elite company.

Dementieva, the world No 5, was the highest-ranked opponent Robson has ever met and did not have things all her own way in a 6-4, 6-0 victory. The 2008 junior Wimbledon champion recovered from two early service breaks to level the first set at 4-4. ''She's playing unbelievably well for 15 years old,'' Dementieva said afterwards. ''I was very impressed with her.''

Roger Federer's goal of winning more tournaments than in the previous two years got off to an inauspicious start in the Qatar Open when he was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals in Doha. Having beaten Davydenko in their first 12 meetings, Federer has now lost to the ATP World Tour Finals champion twice in the space of three months. In today's final Davydenko will play Rafael Nadal, who beat Serbia's Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-3.

Justine Henin, playing her first tournament for 20 months after coming out of retirement, recorded her best win to date when she crushed Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour at the Brisbane International to set up a final meeting with her fellow Belgian comeback queen, Kim Clijsters, who beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2.

''There is so much respect between the two of us,'' Henin said as she looked forward to today's final. ''I know sometimes people would love to hear there have been problems between us, but that's not the case.

''We are so different but we have good memories. When we were younger we were travelling a lot together, but after that we grew up differently and went in different directions.''

Andy Roddick beat Richard Gasquet 6-3, 7-6 in the men's semi-finals in Brisbane and revealed afterwards that he would not be playing in the Davis Cup this year. The American has had knee problems and has been advised to cut down on the number of times he changes court surfaces.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world