Australian Open: Andy Murray sees off Illya Marchenko
Australian Open, Melbourne Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 17-30 January Coverage: Watch on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only) & Eurosport; listen on BBC 5 live sports extra and online; text commentary online;
Murray clinical in Marchenko victory
By Ben Dirs
Britain's Andy Murray was clinical in beating plucky Ukrainian Illya Marchenko to reach the third round of the Australian Open.
Murray, the fifth seed, came through 6-1 6-3 6-3 to set up a clash with 32nd seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain.
The Scot was sharp in the first set, serving eight aces, and while his standard dropped slightly in the second, he still won it comfortably.
And Marchenko finally buckled in the third as Murray closed out the match.
Murray, who reached the final last year, said: "I played well. A lot of the close games I served well in, when I needed to really. That was the difference.
"When you haven't played many matches for a while, it is good to have those tough games and tight moments. You have to come through those if you want to go deep into the tournament."
While Murray felt his way into his first-round match against Karol Beck, he came out swinging against Marchenko, breaking his first service game to love.
Despite both players being 23, Murray looked every bit the man against Marchenko's boy for the rest of the opening set, mixing hefty serves and meaty groundstrokes with impenetrable defence.
With Murray's serve also in good working order he raced into a 4-0 lead, a dipping backhand from behind the baseline sealing the double-break.
The world number 79's principal weapon was his double-fisted backhand and he utilised it well at times, creating some nice angles.
But with Murray holding firm from the back of the court the Ukrainian was forced to gamble too often and the Scot wrapped up the first set in only 29 minutes, rounding things off with two successive aces.
However, Marchenko was not cowed and he broke Murray's serve to make it 2-0 in the second, only for Murray to refocus and break back immediately.
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An incorrect overrule with the score at 2-2 led to Murray breaking again and while Marchenko was momentarily fazed he refused to give up, saving two break points at 2-4 down, although Murray did break again to secure the second set.
Marchenko stayed with Murray until 3-2 in the third, when the underdog's belief finally seemed to evaporate and his spirit appeared to break out on Margaret Court Arena.
Murray broke to make it 4-2 and while Marchenko, by now throwing caution to the wind, showed flickers of life over the next two games, he was only delaying the inevitable.
Murray almost clinched the match with Marchenko serving at 5-3 down, one fizzing forehand pass on the run sending the crowd into raptures.
But Murray showed no mercy in the next game, holding serve and bringing the contest to an end after one hour and 57 minutes.
Garcia-Lopez defeated Eduardo Schwank of Argentina 6-4 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 to reach the third round for only the second time.
"He [Garcia-Lopez] is a very solid player," added Murray. "He does everything well and he's improved his game on hard courts. So it's going to be a tough match."
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