(Reuters) - Andy Murray continued his strong build-up in his quest for a maiden Australian Open title with a comfortable victory over Frenchman Benoit Paire in the Hopman Cup mixed-team event in Perth on Monday.
Fresh from his first title of 2015 in Abu Dhabi, the Scot, representing Britain at the event alongside Heather Watson, defeated Paire 6-2 7-5 in the evening match.
The 27-year-old arrived in sweltering Perth on Sunday after a walkover against an ailing Novak Djokovic in the Abu Dhabi final but showed no signs of rust despite the stark difference in conditions.
“It was a bit of an eye-opener when we arrived at the practice court this morning and it was 44 degrees (Celsius) outside,” Murray, who also beat Rafa Nadal and Feliciano Lopez in Abu Dhabi, said with a grin in a courtside interview.
“I‘m from a small town in Scotland and the weather is not quite like that there. The conditions here are fantastic to get ready for Melbourne.”
After breezing through the first set, the world number six was put under pressure by his French opponent in the second and had to fight hard to hold his serve in a marathon eighth game during which his left shoulder started hurting.
Murray had to wait till the 11th game for the decisive break and completed the win on his second match point with a booming ace.
“I had the (shoulder) problem in Abu Dhabi couple of days ago and haven’t had much time to serve after that. We flew straight from there and arrived yesterday,” Murray said.
”It doesn’t really make sense for a right-handed player to have a problem with their left arm. So I am not sure exactly what it was and I had a scan in Abu Dhabi and that was all clear.
“But it’s still a little bit sore today.”
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Ed Osmond