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.

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week