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Andy Murray beats Karol Beck in Australian Open opener

Australian Open, Melbourne
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 17-30 January
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website & Eurosport; listen on BBC 5 live sports extra and online; text commentary online; full details

Andy Murray

Murray eases through in Australia

By David Ornstein

Britain's Andy Murray resumed his quest for a maiden Grand Slam title with a straightforward victory over Karol Beck in round one of the Australian Open.

Fifth seed Murray was leading 6-3 6-1 4-2 when the unseeded Slovak retired with a right shoulder injury.

Murray was rarely troubled in a solid display, saving all three break points he faced in game six of the third set.

The Scot, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2010 final, plays Illya Marchenko after he beat Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

"I started the match quite well," Murray told BBC Sport afterwards. "I got a bit tentative at the end of the first set but played a lot better from late in the second.

"I don't know exactly when he hurt his shoulder but his serve definitely slowed down towards the end of the second set. Until he hurt himself I felt it was a good match.

"I've trained and prepared well, which gives you confidence. I'm not going to get ahead of myself, I'll just focus on one match at a time as the depth of men's draw is so strong."

Andy Murray

Murray not getting carried away after win

Murray admitted beforehand that he knew precious little about Beck having never previously faced the 28-year-old or even spoken to anyone who had.

Beck reached a career-high ranking of 36 in 2005 but later served a two-year ban for taking performance-enhancing drugs and has slipped to 101st in the world.

The Zvolen-born right-hander made it to the last 16 of the 2004 US Open and Murray said he was expecting to face a "very flat hitter", which has troubled him in the past.

Yet there was no sign of any such shots in the early exchanges as an aggressive British number one immediately set about dismantling his opponent's game.

Despite a couple of solid volleys from Beck in game one, he failed to control a series of groundstrokes and Murray was able to comfortably hold serve.

The Scot then showed superb defensive tenacity to bring up a break point and was quick to pounce - attacking Beck to force a wayward backhand and a 2-0 lead.

Murray now had a cushion but he seemed to become a bit too comfortable and a first serve percentage below 40%, allied to several sloppy drop shots, enabled the Slovak to retain hope.

He twice found himself 30-0 up on the Murray delivery but failed to capitalise and Murray, while at no point needing or appearing close to hitting top form, easily served out the first set to take a grip on the match.


Murray upped the intensity once more at the start of the second set and although Beck responded by raising his own level a notch, the Briton showed more dogged defensive skills to break serve at the end of a 14-minute game.

Love service holds were exchanged in games three and four but Murray managed to scramble another opening at 3-1 and sent a jaw-dropping forehand pass up the line the secure the double break.

Struggling to cope with Murray's intensity and growing increasingly frustrated, Beck came under further pressure in game seven and - after squandering two set points - Murray took the third by wrong-footing Beck with a running crosscourt forehand.

It looked as though Beck was suffering from a shoulder problem as Murray came from 40-0 down to register another break point at the start of the third set, but he dug deep to just about remain in contention.

However, the trainer was soon called and Beck took a medical timeout to receive lengthy treatment.

Once play resumed, he actually played his best tennis of the match and Murray had to be at his best to save three break points at 3-2.

But any chance of a revival was extinguished when a netted backhand gifted Murray a 4-2 lead, at which point a beaten Beck came to the net and shook hands with his conqueror.

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