Strong start helps Murray through to fourth round

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray felt a strong start paved the way for his comfortable victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at the Australian Open today.



The British number one was far too strong for Garcia-Lopez, barely breaking sweat as he cruised to a 6-1 6-1 6-2 victory in just one hour and 22 minutes.



It was a ruthless performance from Murray, who will meet either Austrian 11th seed Jurgen Melzer or popular Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the last 16, and one he felt could be partly attributed to an early break of the Spaniard's serve.



He said: "I got off to a good start and played well from there.



"The first game doesn't always dictate the way the match is going to go, but it definitely helped today.



"I broke from 40-0 in the first game and played well after that."



The first game also saw Garcia-Lopez produce one of the shots of the tournament, a stunning pass between his legs as Murray closed in on the net.



"It was the first time someone passed me on a through-the-legs shot on the tour. It was a very close one on the line," said Murray with a smile.



Garcia-Lopez, seeded 32nd, warned Murray he would "give him nothing" beforehand yet the exact opposite transpired as the Spaniard committed 31 unforced errors. The 27-year-old also failed to hold serve until the latter stages of the second set.



The standard of opposition should not detract from Murray's performance, though. He was efficient, clinical on break points - claiming eight of 11 - and kept his concentration despite the match resembling little more than a training exercise.



After his early break, and subsequent hold, Murray remained firmly on top.



A backhand winner down the line handed the Scot two break points in the next game and he extended his advantage to 3-0 as Garcia-Lopez dumped a running forehand into the net.



A lapse in Murray's concentration allowed the Spaniard to hit back but he then failed to win his serve for the third successive time as Murray regained his three-game lead at 4-1.



A comfortable hold for Murray was followed by another break as Garcia-Lopez carelessly flashed a backhand wide to relinquish the first set.



Murray held at the start of the second before he claimed another break as Garcia-Lopez continued to spray the ball around Rod Laver Arena.



And the one-sided nature of the contest showed no sign of letting up, Murray breaking again for a 4-0 lead. That prompted Garcia-Lopez to try to hit a ball out of the arena in frustration but he could not even manage that, the ball landing on the roof and rolling apologetically back on to the court.



The Spaniard finally held - at the seventh time of asking - but it mattered little as Murray clinched the second set.



Garcia-Lopez did at least record two further holds - each one greeted with ironic cheers from the crowd - to establish a 2-1 third-set lead.



But his groundstrokes were not improving and more sloppiness from the back of the court gifted Murray a straightforward service game.



Murray was working hard - one scrambling point ended when Garcia-Lopez finally put away a high volley at the net, before a stunning forehand down the line from the Scot and a woeful drop shot from Garcia-Lopez got him back to deuce in the next game.



A winning forehand from Murray and a wayward backhand from the Spaniard handed Murray the break and a 3-2 advantage.



That swiftly became 5-2 as Murray took game seven with a brilliant forehand winner down the line and he served it out to advance with consummate ease.



"It was good today, obviously, a quick match," he added.



"I served well, hit the ball cleanly from the back.



"I played well while he probably didn't play his best. It was over quickly. It was hot today so it was nice to get off the court.



"It's very difficult to concentrate for a long period of time in this heat and that was what I was able to do."

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