Murray races through Australian opener

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The Independent Online

Fifth seed Andy Murray secured a routine 6-1 6-1 6-2 first-round win over qualifier Kevin Anderson to begin his campaign at the Australian Open today.

The 22-year-old ran his 6ft 8in South Africa opponent ragged as he mixed his game up from the back of the court with a sprinkling of serve-and-volley under the Rod Laver Arena roof.



It was a dominant display, albeit against the world's 148th-ranked player, as Murray broke Anderson in six of his opening eight service games.



It was enough to drain any pre-match optimism South Africa's top-ranked player may have retained after coming through qualifying, where his serve was not broken once, to reach the main draw.



The Scot did not drop a service game of his own despite only managing to get a paltry 35% of his first serves in play.



It mattered not as Murray, who returned to number four in the world rankings today, quickly showed why there is over 100 places between the players.



The writing was on the wall when Murray raced into a 5-0 lead, although the Scot was given a reminder not to underestimate his rival, or his height, when an attempted lob was viciously smashed past him and into the crowd.



That helped Anderson at least get on the scoreboard, but Murray's only concern was his inability to get his first serve in play.



Murray's impeccable groundstrokes, however, ensured such misfiring meant little as he fired 18 winners en route to winning the opening set in 29 minutes.



Murray again immediately broke in the second set when Anderson miscued a simple volley wide.



The 23-year-old South African had his chance to break back though as Murray's serve continued to look slightly brittle early on, but Anderson squandered three break-point chances.



Murray extricated himself from the danger with consecutive backhand cross-court winners as Anderson advanced to the net, before serving it out with an ace.



The match already looked within Murray's keeping and he looked to get to the net more often and take control against his lumbering opponent.



The tactic worked as he broke three more times in the set to clinch it 6-1, with the pressure showing on Anderson who double-faulted to go two sets down.



With the South African now resigned to his fate both players ambled through the final set before Murray clinched victory with a further break.

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