Murray into second week with fine win

 

Andy Murray felt Michael Llodra was the perfect opponent for him to
show off his full repertoire of skills as he made impressive progress
into the second week of the Australian Open.

Left-hander Llodra was happy to provide Murray with a target as he rushed the net time and again. And more often than not Murray found the pass to win the third round clash 6-4 6-2 6-0 and progress into a last-16 encounter with Mikhail Kukushkin.

In a match full of inventive shot-making and entertaining rallies, Murray was in his element.

Powerful and accurate off the ground, he also displayed a deft touch at the net. Allied with a fine serving display, this was Murray approaching his best.

And yet the most impressive statistic was that despite both players seemingly keen to show a flamboyant side, the Scot made just 11 unforced errors.

"It was good tonight," said Murray. "It was tough for a set and a half, a tough match.

"He put a lot of pressure on my serve and came to the net a lot. I had to save quite a few games where he had break points or 30-all.

"But once I got up a double break in the second we played some entertaining rallies and fun points.

"I played well and it was enjoyable."

Having grown up facing his brother Jamie's swinging left-handed serve, Murray was hardly short of ideas in dealing with Llodra's.

"It's tricky but I have always played well against lefties," he added.

"I've enjoyed playing against guys that come forward too. So it was a good match-up for me.

"But he's very good at what he does, he volleys very well."

Murray has improved in each of his matches in Melbourne as he bids to reach a third successive final here.

"My movement was way better than the first two matches," he said. "I moved great tonight.

"That's a good sign for me because when I move well the rest of my game goes well. That was the most pleasing thing for me tonight.

"But I need to keep improving, do things a bit better each round."

It is hard to imagine Murray can improve much on this display as, despite one or two nervous moments on serve in the first set, he was in total control.

Llodra, the world number 46 declared beforehand his "only option" was to attack but it was a policy which looked doomed to fail from the early stages.

Murray broke for a 2-1 lead in the first set, thanks largely to two sublime backhands, and although the Frenchman threatened to hit back in each of Murray's next three service games, the fourth seed held on to take the opener.

Llodra's frustration increased when Murray turned on the style in the opening game of the second set, a raft of clever passing shots handing him a break to press home his advantage.

And it got no better for the Frenchman when, having held for 1-2, he called a medical time out to have his right knee taped.

By now Murray was in full flow and Llodra was having a hard time clinging on to his coat tails.

He managed to remain just one break adrift, though, despite Murray drilling a short ball at his back when he could have gone either side - a shot which would, no doubt, have brought a nod of approval from Murray's new coach Ivan Lendl although the Czech may not have approved of the apologetic hug which followed.

But Murray maintained his intensity, another break moving him 5-2 up and he held his nerve in the next game, which featured numerous enthralling rallies and finished with the Frenchman throwing his towel at his opponent in mock irritation, to establish a two-set advantage.

Llodra is renowned as one of the biggest jokers on tour with his most notorious prank seeing him strip naked and hide in Ivan Ljubicic's locker at an event in Miami before jumping out to surprise the stunned Croatian.

But he was starting to look exposed on Melbourne Park's second showcourt as Murray upped the ante further in the third.

Three breaks saw him race into a 5-0 lead and he had no problems in serving it out.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
people
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor