World number one Andy Murray eased into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2, win over next generation star Andrey Rublev. Murray will face big-serving Sam Querrey on Friday for a place in the fourth round.
Rublev's big hitting was no match for Murray's excellent defense and variety. His huge groundstrokes brought him through a few impressive points but overall he was outclassed by the world number one. Murray was never in any danger and came through without facing a single break point.
No way through for Rublev
Both players had a love hold each to begin the match. Another easy service game for the Brit took him ahead at 2-1. Murray took the lead on return in the next game with aggressive groundstrokes troubling Rublev, but the young Russian recovered with some clean hitting from the baseline to hold on.
Murray stepped into an aggressive return but Rublev quickly fired a forehand down the line to steal the point. The Brit reached out wide for a backhand and Rublev thought it was drifting long but it landed right on the baseline to give Murray a lead. Murray kept battling and took the break, excellent defending giving him the break point.
The lead was easily consolidated to take Murray 5-2 ahead. Rublev hammered his way through another hold of serve to stay one break away from the world number one as he served for the set. Huge groundstrokes from the Russian were enough to give him the advantage on a couple of points, but the majority of the time Murray's defending was too good. Murray survived some pressure from Rublev and served out the set 6-3.
Murray continued his lead into the second set, breaking immediately as deep returning allowed him to dictate play on the return. A couple of errors from Murray gave Rublev a look in at the next game at 30-30 but the Brit fired down an ace and got out of the game to extend his lead. Outstanding defense from Murray was quickly turned into attack as he struck a forehand winner to take the lead on return again. A sliced backhand from Murray took the Russian by surprise as it dropped short into the court and leveled the pair at 30-30. Massive groundstrokes from Rublev gave him a game point but the world number one battled for a break point. Murray's outstanding defense was too much for Rublev and the Brit took a double break lead after a shanked overhead from his opponent at the end of a long rally.
A quick hold for Murray extended his lead to 4-0. Rublev looked to be getting his first hold of the set at 40-0, but Murray took five points in a row to steal another break that would allow him to serve for the second set bagel. The Russian threw everything he has at Murray as he was serving for the set but the world number one came through the deuce game to secure the bagel and a two set lead.
Cruising into the third round
Rublev battled through a tight opening game to end Murray's run of games at seven but Murray followed with a quick love hold to quickly level them. The Brit went over on his ankle in the next game but still managed to battle his way through a break. Murray had a quick assessment on his ankle before going out to serve to consolidate his lead.
Big serving from the Brit took him through another easy hold to move to a 3-1 lead. A loose service game from the Russian handed Murray another easy break. There looked to be no way back for the Rublev as Murray cruised through another easy hold of serve to force the Russian to serve to stay in the match. A solid hold while under pressure forced Murray to try and finish the match on his own serve. Rublev still wasn't going away and managed to push Murray to deuce, still throwing everything at the Brit. Murray survived and sealed the win on his third match point to move into the third round.