Tennis: Masterful Murray serves up bagel in blasting Aussie off court

Sam Groth has been bundled out of the Australian Open in Melbourne in straight sets by Andy Murray. Photo / AP
Sam Groth has been bundled out of the Australian Open in Melbourne in straight sets by Andy Murray. Photo / AP

Big-serving Aussie tennis hope Sam Groth has been bundled out of the Australian Open in Melbourne in straight sets by the No2 seed, British star Andy Murray.

In his first match on Rod Laver Arena, Groth was dealt a bagel in the first set as a dominant Murray set the tone for the 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 result.

Murray reeled off the first nine games of the match, breaking Groth's serve four times, before the big Victorian raised his arms in mock triumph when he held serve in the 10th game to get on the scoreboard.

Groth enjoyed his most competitive period during the second set, breaking Murray's serve for the only time.

But it didn't last, with the Scot breaking the Aussie seven times in the impressive display to extend his perfect record over Australian opponents at ATP, Grand Slam and Davis Cup level to an extraordinary 18-0.

"It's nice to play against different game styles ... he's quite different in coming to the net a lot and trying to get forward at every opportunity," Murray said. "When he serves well, it's easy to get impatient because you don't touch the ball, sometimes for a whole game.

"He didn't start off the match serving so well, which helped me. But when he picked his serve up in the second set, it became much tougher."

Murray will face 32nd seed Joao Sousa or Colombian Santiago Giraldo in the third round as he strives to go one better in 2016 after losing four finals at Melbourne Park.

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka continued her near-faultless run yesterday, crushing Danka Kovinic 6-1, 6-2 in the second round.

Azarenka is seeded 14th but on form is shaping as Serena Williams' biggest challenger at Melbourne Park.

The 26-year-old, who won the Open in 2012 and 2013, dished out a double bagel in the opening round.

Having ended Alison Van Uytvanck's campaign in just 53 minutes, Azarenka accounted for Kovinic in just a tick over an hour. She has dropped three games in the tournament so far.

"I really don't count the games," Azarenka said courtside. "I just enjoy myself on the court and try to play every point like it's my last point."

Azarenka is back to full fitness after a frustrating 2015 campaign, during which she failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals at any grand slam.

The Belarusian won the Brisbane International earlier this month and has continued her strong form since.

She noted it was hard to compare her current tilt at Open glory with the success she enjoyed in 2012 and 2013.

"Where I am in my life is very different and I'm so very happy to be here and want to enjoy it as long as I can," Azarenka said.

"I know it's a long way to go [to the final] so I like to approach it day by day. Stay in the moment and enjoy."

Azarenka next faces Naomi Osaka, an 18-year-old on grand slam debut, who ousted 18th seed Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4.

Third seed Garbine Muguruza recorded a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Kirsten Flipkens in her second-round clash. Muguruza is yet to drop a set in the tournament and next faces world No48 Barbora Strycova.

Top results

• 2-Andy Murray (GBR) bt Samuel Groth (AUS) 6-0 6-4 6-1

• 10-John Isner (USA) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-3 7-6(6) 7-6(2)

• 3-Garbine Muguruza (ESP) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-4 6-2

• 20-Ana Ivanovic (SRB) bt Q-Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-3 6-3


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