By Ros Satar, in Melbourne
- Andy Murray  def. Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-0 6-2
- Faces Sam Querrey  in R3
- Dan Evans def. Marin Cilic  3-6 7-5 6-3 6-3
- Faces Bernard Tomic  in R3
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Andy Murray turned his ankle on the way to a more routine straight sets win, while Dan Evans cranked up the gears to take out 7th seed Marin Cilic to both advance to Round Three of the Australian Open
Andy Murray  def. Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-0 6-2
Andrey Rublev wanted to show from the outset that he was not intimidated by Andy Murray looking to hang with him in the rallies, and there was not of the agitation we saw in his opening round against Illiya Marchenko. Instead the Brit was spending his time at changes of ends reading the notes he often keeps in his bag.
It worked, as he earned a break from the one soft game the Russian produced in the first set for a single break advantage that he kept for the remainder of the set.
The momentum was firmly with the Brit as he ran away with things in the second set, denying the Russian a chance to get a game on the board, although to give Rublev credit, he fought off two set points in the process.
Despite an awkward tumble and a twist to his ankle, those sturdy ankle braces he always wears stood him in good stead this time around. He did spend a few moments muttering “not good news” to his support team who had looked on anxiously when he fell, but he played down the seriousness of the fall.
He told reporters in his post-match press conference: “It just a little bit stiff just now. It’s okay. I don’t think I’ve done too much damage. See in the morning how it feels when I wake up. But hopefully it will be all right.
“Heard a few sort of little crackles, and it was sore. It was throbbing kind of the rest of the match. I was moving fine on it, though. It was just sore. So you’re thinking about it because, you know, you have a little bit of pain when you’re moving around. Also when you’re moving into certain positions again on the court, you don’t want to, you know, do the same movement again. But, yeah, I was moving fine towards the end of the match.”
Murray v Sam Querrey  – H2H: Murray leads 7-1
Murray will need to be at his returning best as the US veteran Sam Querrey obviously still has the ability to surprise – as we saw at Wimbledon last year. However if he has any sense he might want to probe Murray’s movement after that tumble, but agility and nimbleness around the court are not really Querrey’s forte, preferring to put more store in a usually devastating serve and forehand combination.
On the other hand if Murray is feeling confident once more in his own movement he can look to exploit Querrey by not just moving him around the baseline, but trying to bring him in and with some clever use of angles and no doubt the odd cheeky lob.
Prediction: Murray in straight sets
Dan Evans def. Marin Cilic  3-6 7-5 6-3 6-3
There was more of the frustrations of his Sydney final on show for Dan Evans after stumbling to an early break and being plagued with a gnat in his eye as the seventh seed Marin Cilic pulled away in the first set.
Much fury was directed at Evan’s box where Mark Hilton and Leon Smith patiently absorbed the ever mounting frustration that eventually was the catalyst for a lot sharper play for the Brummie.
As Cilic began to mis-fire, Evans began to raise his game, capitalising towards perhaps the inevitable weariness in his legs having allowed himself to be dragged to five sets by Jerzy Janowicz in the opener.
Evans played some of the tennis of his life showing off the talent that many have known he has for many years but chose to hide under perhaps a pint and a packet of crisps.
He explained after the match: “Slow start really. I was a bit taken aback how hard he hit the ball. So, yeah, had to sort of get in the match and hang in at the start of the second. I think I put him under pressure with his second serve. I was making a lot of second serve returns.
“I think I forced him into a few doubles as well. I served really well. That was a big part of it.”
His trials and tribulations have also perhaps cost him his sponsorship deal with Nike. Gone were the luminous kit of the Sydney run and he took to the court in A$20 Uniqlo kit that he had to buy himself.
“I’m just out of contract with Nike. They didn’t offer me another contract. I just went to the store and bought a load of clothes the other day, plain clothes.
“I obviously wanted to [renew]. I thought they would want to, as well. I guess they’ve got [Kyle Edmund]. There’s no point in having two people wearing Nike in Britain.”
Evans v Bernard Tomic  – H2H: 1-1
Some will remember of course the run Evans made for himself at the 2013 quarter-finals, coming through qualification and taking out Kei Nishikori and Bernard Tomic before finally being down by the Tommy Robredo.
If Evans prefers rhythm to his game he might be hard pushed to find it with Tomic whose loopy unpredictability and his ability to chance pace and spin with heavily disguised shot-making will keep the Brit guessing.
Perhaps in the aftermath of Nick Kyrgios’ meltdown, the pressure may also tell on Tomic. He knows he wants to play better and be more consistent, but he has a hard time bringing that to the court sometimes. It remains to be seen what effect Kyrgios’ exit will have on him.
Meanwhile Evans predicts an evenly matched contest – a lot has happened to both of them since they clashed in 2013 and had it not been for maybe a lack of match practice, Evans might well have taken out a struggling Tomic in the Davis Cup.
Prediction: Evans in five sets.
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