Melbourne, Australia — Andy Murray raced through his second-round match like he was in a hurry to get somewhere, winning 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 against an Aussie who was playing on Rod Laver Arena for the first time.
With his pregnant wife back in Britain, due to have their first baby next month, the No. 2-ranked Murray doesn’t want to labor too many points as he bids to win the Australian Open title for the first time after losing four finals.
Murray improved his perfect record against Australian opponents to 17-0 when he beat Sam Groth on Thursday. Groth, who boasts the fastest serve in tennis, let it be known just as they were preparing to enter the center court at Melbourne Park that he’d never played on the biggest stage at the season’s first major.
Murray, who has one of the best returns of serve in the game, didn’t give Groth much of a look before closing with an ace — his 10th — in 1 hour, 31 minutes.
He said it was a bonus for him that Groth’s serve wasn’t firing in the first set — when he was broken three times.
“It’s been a very good start,” Murray said, “but I can get better, for sure.”
No. 32-seeded Joao Sousa beat Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 and will play Murray in the next round. Fernando Verdasco lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) to Dudi Sela out an outdoor court, a surpising defeat coming two days after he beat 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal in a five-setter lasting four hours, 41 minutes on center court,
Other big servers had more success than Groth. No. 10 John Isner fired 20 aces and 53 winners in a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) win over Marcel Granollers, and No. 14 Milos Raonic had 24 aces as he fended off Tommy Robredo 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 7-5 in a match containing one service break.
There was a lengthy delay on Rod Laver Arena in the first match of the day, during Ana Ivanovic’s 6-3, 6-3 win over Anastasija Sevastova.
The 2008 finalist was leading Sevastova 4-3 in the first set when medical personnel rushed to help a spectactor who had fallen on the stairs in the upper level of the 15,000-seat stadium. The players stayed on the court during the break, getting regular updates from tournament officials.
“First I felt really bad. I was really shaking, because the sound of the lady falling was really loud,” she said. “I stopped immediately.
“I was really shaking, because I could imagine and it was not so nice. I hope she’s well.”
Tournament organizers said the spectator was treated in the stadium before being taken by stretcher for observation and more treatment.
With No. 2-ranked Simon Halep and No. 7 Venus Williams already out, No. 20 Ivanovic is the most experienced player in her quarter.
Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza is in the same half of the draw, and the 2015 Wimbledon finalist moved into the third round for the third straight year at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens.
No. 15 Madison Keys beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3.
“Today was definitely for me more mental than physical so I’m happy I was able to show some growth in that area,” Keys said.
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka returned from an injury layoff to win the Brisbane International title leading into the Australian Open and continued her strong run with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Danka Kovinic. Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka beat No. 18 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4. Other seeded players exiting in the second round included No. 19 Jelena Jankovic and No. 30 Sabine Lisicki.
Johanna Konta followed up her first-round win over Venus WIlliams with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Zheng Saisai.