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.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
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
and  

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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own