• Australian Open

Murray shows his class to batter Millot

ESPN staff
January 16, 2014
Andy Murray's only concerns against Vincent Millot were with his back © Getty Images

A determined Andy Murray overwhelmed Frenchman Vincent Millot 6-2 6-2 7-5 to take his place in the third round of the Australian Open.

Murray's sanguine approach was disturbed only in the third set, when Millot jumped out to a 5-1 lead despite having just received treatment on a calf strain. However, the Briton immediately stepped through the gears to take the last five games of the match and complete the job in a little over two hours.

Murray immediately jumped out to three break points in the very first game of the match, and Millot could only save one of those before going long with a forehand. A second break followed in the third game, Millot going wide of even the doubles court with a stretching backhand.

Murray felt his back at times throughout the match © Getty Images

Two double faults in the next game gifted one of the breaks back to Millot, but a riled Murray continued to attack his opponent's serve and sealed a third break and a 4-1 first-set lead. Millot survived a set point in the seventh game before holding his serve for the first time in the match.

Murray served out the first set with an ace, which put a misleading exclamation point on a set that had seen Murray hit just 44% of first serves. There also appeared to be concern about his back, with some struggles to get down to low shots during rallies.

Despite not being anywhere near his top form, Murray broke in the third game of the second set and continued to force his opponent to cover acres of the court. Another break followed in the fifth game, and with the match at 5-2 in the second set, Millot received treatment for a calf problem which required a medical timeout. When play resumed, Murray held serve with ease and it seemed the only doubt that remained about the outcome of the match was whether Millot would be forced to retire.

However, the Frenchman was not in any mood to go quietly, and he played his best game of the match to break Murray in the third set and build a 4-1 advantage. Another break followed as Millot began to feast on Murray's second serve, and suddenly the Wimbledon champion was 5-1 down.

The comeback only ignited the competitive fire in Murray. He had only ever lost once in Grand Slams from a 2-0 lead - to David Nalbandian at Wimbledon in 2005 - and won 10 consecutive points as part of a run that brought the set back to 5-4. A love service game followed and Millot hollered in despair as the third set levelled at 5-5.

The one-sidedness continued in the final two games, and by the time it ended, Murray had won the final 23 points of the match.

"This is the event I love. I don't know if this is going to be the year, but I'll try my best," Murray said on court after the win.

"In the third set, he played unbelievably well. He was hitting winners, so I had to adjust a bit. With his ranking it just shows what depth we have in the game."

Asked about the heat which has been the main talking point of the event so far, Murray said: "Coming from Scotland, it's not easy [to cope with]. We're not used to it. It was very humid tonight, the conditions changed a lot, but I think we've had the worst of the weather, so that's good."

Murray will now face Feliciano Lopez, who defeated Michael Berrer 6-3 7-6(6) 6-4 at the same time Murray was beating Millot. Murray has never lost in seven meetings with Lopez, including three Grand Slam encounters - Wimbledon 2011 and the US Open in 2011 and 2012. Indeed, he has only ever dropped one set to Lopez, in their last encounter in New York.

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