Murray begins tough quest with Bhambri win

Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:04am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Warm, dry conditions and an unknown hard-hitting opponent gave Andy Murray some cause for concern before the sixth seed advanced to the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) victory over India's Yuki Bhambri on Monday.

The 27-year-old Murray, appearing on the newly refurbished Margaret Court Arena, did not look too troubled by the former junior world number one, even though he had some nervous moments in the third set when the qualifier held a 4-1 lead.

"The last couple days have been pretty cold, very cloudy, and today obviously the sun was out (and) the court was livelier," Murray said of the conditions at Melbourne Park.

"When it's dry as well, it didn't feel humid at all, the ball travels through the air quicker.

"He was hitting the ball very flat and coming to the net a lot (and) rushing me.

"I had never seen him play before, and never practiced with him. It was tough to know what to expect."

Bhambri is ranked 317th in the world and was making his grand slam main draw debut though Murray did not expect the 22-year-old to be languishing in the lower reaches of the rankings for too long.

"He's way better than ranked 300 in the world," Murray added. "He missed five or six months last year through injury.   Continued...

Britain's Andy Murray hits a shot during a practice session on Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park January 18, 2015. The Australian Open tennis tournament begins on January 19.     REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha