Groth shrugs off ankle concern in loss

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Groth shrugs off ankle concern in loss

Sam Groth promises to be fit to partner Lleyton Hewitt in the retiring champion’s Australian Open doubles swansong despite suffering an injury scare late in his second-round loss to Andy Murray.

The big-serving local hope, who was bundled out in straight sets by the No.2 seed on Thursday, fell to the court in pain after rolling his right ankle approaching the net in the last game of the match.

But he dismissed concerns over his ability to partner Hewitt in their second-round clash with eighth-seeded pairing Henri Kontinen and John Peers.

“It’s all right … if I hadn’t rolled it, I might’ve come back. Who knows?” Groth said with a wry grin.

“It was just a little tweak there – nothing too bad. I managed to hit two winners in that game, one off a drop shot. I still moved all right.

“It will be fine.”

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 Newcombe Medallist seven times in the impressive display.

“I had a bad serving day against the No.2 player in the world and that’s probably not going to cut it,” he said.

“I felt all right going out there until I started hitting a lot and then I was pretty nervous.

“My serve was sort of out. If I don’t serve well against a guy (who) I know I have to have probably one of my best serving days against … I’m in a bit of trouble.”

Murray extended his perfect record over Australian opponents at ATP, grand slam and Davis Cup level to an extraordinary 18-0 with the win.

“When he serves well, it’s easy to get impatient because you don’t touch the ball, sometimes for a whole game,” Murray said.

“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 Portuguese 32nd seed Joao Sousa in the third round as he strives to go one better in 2016 after losing four finals at Melbourne Park.

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