Ice-cool Murray crushes Haase

2013-01-15 07:17

Melbourne - Andy Murray said he would draw on the experience of his breakthrough US Open win in the later stages of big tournaments after a trouble-free start to his Australian Open campaign on Tuesday.

In warming on-court temperatures on Rod Laver Arena, the third seed clinically disposed of Dutchman Robin Haase, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 to progress safely to the second round.

Much has changed in Murray's life since his career-transforming victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in last year's US Open final, and he is among the favourites at the year's opening major tournament.

Murray was authoritative in his first match in Melbourne, taking just 1hr 37min to take apart the erratic Haase with eight service breaks and making just 20 unforced errors in the 25 games.

Murray said he didn't notice anything significantly different in his first Grand Slam match since his US Open triumph last September, but that it would steel him should he make the final rounds of the Australian Open.

"It didn't feel much difference to me. I was still nervous before I went on to play the match," Murray said.

"I think when I would see the benefits of that is if I get myself deep into a Slam this year and you're playing against the top players. That's when I think you'll draw on that experience and use it in the right way."

Murray, 25, has twice been runner-up at the Australian Open. He is drawn to face 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals and possibly defending champion Djokovic in the final.

Haase, who frequently over-cooked his volleys among his 35 unforced errors, was no threat to Murray.

"It was a good start and it was nice to win in straight sets, it was the hottest day of the tournament so far," Murray said.

"It took a little while to get used to that and the court was playing much quicker and bouncier because of it."

Asked if there was too much concentration on his US Open triumph, Murray said: "No, it's not a bad thing. I've often had to look at majors, having lost in finals or having lost in tough semi-finals.

"It's nice to have that memory of having won one. But it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing, it matters what I'm doing.

"I'm focused on this event, and I trained really hard to get myself ready for it. So whether everyone else is still thinking about the US Open or not makes no difference to me."

Murray broke Haase's serve three times to take the opening set in 41 minutes, helped by his superior accuracy against the messy Haase.

Murray was broken as he attempted to serve out for the set, putting a weak sliced backhand into the net, but it was only a temporary setback as the Scot broke Haase's serve next game for the set.

Murray, with an iced towel draped around his neck at changeovers to cope with the heat, took a grip on the match and he raced through the second set in 26 minutes with two more service breaks, conceding just 12 points.

And the third seed broke the wilting Dutchman's opening service game in the final set as he surged towards victory.

Murray reeled off another break in the fifth game, but lost his own serve for only the second time in the match at 4-2. But he again broke Haase's serve to take the match when the Dutchman overhit a forehand.