By Britwatch Tennis
- Johanna Konta def. Venus Williams 6-4 6-2
- Andy Murray def. Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-2 6-3
- Feliciano Lopez def. Dan Evans 6-1 6-0 6-4, Steve Johnson def. Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-4 7-6(3)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – There was success for both British No. 1s as Andy Murray and Johanna Konta advanced into the second round of the Australian Open.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
Andy Murray def. Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-2 6-3
It looked like a tricky start for the World No. 2 against one of the ATP’s most promising stars, but in the end he was happy to get the job comparatively quickly, on a far cooler day than Monday’s opener.
Breaking swiftly for a 3-1 lead, Murray installed himself firmly in the driving seat in the first set, keeping the young German at bay and breaking him once more before sealing the first set, which was not without incident as Zverev suffered a nosebleed early on, and play was halted while it was dealt with.
There is plenty to admire on the latest of the ATP’s bright young things – tall and rangy, once he settles into to his body he will be formidable.
Of course with the news breaking on at the start of the Australian Open about allegations of match-fixing at even the highest levels of the sport, Murray was called upon to give his opinion, where peers Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer had talked at length after their first round matches.
With this tournament, where tweets are promoted in partnership with William Hill, Murray spoke about the hypocrisy of having some tournaments sponsored by betting/gaming companies while battling to eradicate corruption.
Looking back on his own career, he confirmed that no-one had ever coached him on how to potentially handle a situation like that, although the ‘ATP University’ may now cover that for younger players as they progress through the tour.
Murray said: “I know when I was growing up — I mean, certainly throughout my whole career I was never warned about that or told about that or anyone said to me how you should handle that if you’re in that situation.
“Things can change. I have been on the tour now, this is like my 11th or 12th year on the tour. Maybe it is and that’s a positive thing, you know. If it is, then great. I wasn’t aware of that. But if it is, then that’s a good thing.”
Looking ahead, while his next opponent Sam Groth is secretly wishing Murray’s wife Kim goes into labour between now and Thursday, but Murray knows this will be an interesting encounter.
He said: “First time playing him in singles. He’s a big guy. Serves big, and serve and volley tactics. He tries to get forward as much as he can. You don’t see many players like that now.
“Obviously he will have the crowd behind him, as well. He’s a competitive guy, too. Fights extremely hard. Has a great attitude. He will make it tough for me because he has a different game style to a lot of the players now.
“I’ll be ready for that. I normally enjoy playing against the guys that come forward and stuff, so hopefully I can return well and, you know, pass well. I’ll need to if I want to win.”
Johanna Konta def. Venus Williams 6-4 6-2
The British No. 1 might have at least felt some confidence that she could battle the seven-time Grand Slam champion on her own terms, but it would not have been a draw to savour, that’s for sure.
With two first round losses behind her, not to mention the inevitable weight of expectation on her shoulders now she carries as the British No. 1, it was actually a confident start for the Aussie-born Brit.
Breaking ahead of the first change over and backed up with some confident consolidation, Konta put herself firmly in the driving seat with a second break, but it is all about confidence and experience when it comes to serving it out.
Letting a set point go gave Williams a lifeline to stay in contention and Konta reigned those nerves in to serve the first set out to love.
Williams, with her left thigh strapped no doubt looked ill at ease, especially as the second set started to get out away from her, as Konta jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
Yet again though, an edge of tightness started to creep into Konta’s game, a few wild swings belying the calm of earlier, as Williams once more edged back into the match, even entertaining two break points on the Konta serve as she stepped up to serve it out for the second time.
Konta allowed herself to be more than a little satisfied with the outcome of that match. Having pushed Williams to three sets before, she falt she had given herself the tools to deal with the situation.
She said: “It did give me the opportunity that I had been on court with her before. I had a better understanding, better feel of what kind of ball was going to be coming off her racquet.
“In that sense, I was more comfortable out there. It was definitely a different setting and different tournament. That in itself had its own challenges. I’m very happy with the game plan I went out there with and just my ability to really stick with it, even when things were getting a bit close.”
Murray and Konta are the only two Brits remaining in the singles draws, after Dan Evans and Aljaz Bedene both lost in straight sets.
Play continues at Melbourne Park at 11am, with Murray and Konta scheduled for their second round matches on Thursday.
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