Murray beats bloodied German to advance at Open
Andy Murray’s greater experience and defensive skills saw off rising German star Alexander Zverev on Tuesday as he launched his bid to end a heartbreaking run at the Australian Open.
The four-time runner-up mastered the talented but erratic 18-year-old 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours, seven minutes in sweltering conditions on Hisense Arena.
The win sets up the British world number two, a four-time Australian Open runner-up, with a second-round meeting against big-serving Australian Sam Groth.
Murray, who is on tenterhooks waiting for the birth of his first child, said he could have been more efficient in finishing off the exciting Zverev, but was happy to have won in straight sets.
“We played a lot of long games, especially on his serve,” the two-time Grand Slam winner said.
“I think I could have done a little bit better job of closing the match out a little bit sooner, because I did have chances to go up a double break.
“But I played well. I played a good match against a player who has got a lot, lot of potential.
“Alex fought right through to the last point so he made it very competitive at the end in tough conditions today.”
Murray, who is looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after losing the final four times, always had the contest under control.
He broke Zverev’s serve six times, saved six from six break points and dominated when he came to the net, winning 12 points.
Zverev, who uses Murray’s former trainer Jez Green, impressed with his court speed and coverage along with his reach and big forehand.
But it was his inconsistency that was his major failing, getting himself into good positions but over-hitting his volleys.
Zverev suffered a nose bleed in only the second game of the match and needed a medical timeout before returning to the court.
The Scot broke Zverev twice on the way to taking the opening set in 35 minutes and while the young German had Murray’s serve under pressure he never recovered from dropping his opening serve to lose the second set.
The final set went for almost an hour in the afternoon heat but Murray’s greater experience was key.
Murray has made it clear he will not hesitate to pull out of the tournament and dash home to be with wife Kim Sears, who is due next month, if she goes into labour with their first child.