Four-time finalist Andy Murray has set up a showdown with home hope Sam Groth after steaming through his first-round match at the Australian Open.
The second-seeded Murray blasted past young German Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-2 6-3 to join in-form Canadian Milos Raonic as an early day-two winner at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.
Murray was glad to get off the court in straight sets but said the match had been more difficult than the scoreline suggested.
“It got tough at the end. There were a lot of tough games, a lot of tough rallies,” Murray said.
“Alex fought right through to the last point and it was obviously tough conditions today. It got very hot when the clouds went away.
“It seemed like all the games were going to deuce … he hung in and made it tough.
“He fought hard. He’s young but he’s one of the best young players in the world and he’s going to be around for a long time.”
Raonic, who opened the season with victory over Roger Federer in the Brisbane final, beat Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-1 6-4 6-4, while Groth advanced with a 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Adrian Mannarino.
Queenslander John Millman is also through to the second round after Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman retired in the fourth set out on court six, while holding a two-sets-to-one lead.
Wildcard Matthew Ebden didn’t fare so well, going down to Spaniard Marcel Granollers in four sets, 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-4.
No.11 seed Kevin Anderson was the highest-ranked casualty on Tuesday, with Rajeev Ram progressing after the South African retired down two sets to one.
Italian 20th seed Fabio Fognini is also out, beaten by Luxembourgs’s Gilles Muller 7-6(6) 7-6(7) 6-7(5) 7-6(1).