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Impressive Murray hammers Haase

ESPN staff
January 15, 2013 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »
Andy Murray leans into a forehand © Getty Images
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Andy Murray cantered into the second round of the Australian Open with a demolition of Robin Haase.

Murray claimed prior to the match that he was not sure how he would react to entering a major as a grand slam winner. If there were nerves he did not show them, as he dominated his opponent from the off and claimed a 6-3 6-1 6-3 win - enabling him to get off court before the searing heat in Melbourne could take hold.

Haase's primary weapon is an all-or-nothing forehand. It's something Murray came into the match well aware of and he attempted to combat it by stepping up to the baseline and dictating the pace of play.

And after Haase took the opening game to love, it was a policy that worked pretty well. Both players went for the lines but it was Murray's pace around the court and use of angles that helped him power ahead. Murray was gifted the opening break of serve by a poor Haase backhand, but he ran through five games on the spin in the first set courtesy of some brilliant play.

Haase stopped the run of games against him at five with a hold and promptly broke Murray who frustratingly, with the set at his mercy, sent down his first double fault of the match and followed it up with a poor drop shot.

World No. 53 Haase, who was once as high as 33, failed to capitalise on the opening as he surrendered the set in meek fashion, firing off a string of mistakes, as Murray took the opening set in 41 minutes.

Love service holds were traded at the start of the second set, but for all the impressive winners (18) that came from the Haase racket there were too many errors (35) to negate the quality.

Murray broke through early in the second set and it broke the floodgates as he ran through five games unanswered at a rate of knots.

The British No. 1 did not take his foot off the gas and claimed a love hold at the start of the third set. That was in part due to the mistakes of Haase, but there was also quality from Murray as he countered weight of shot with precision hitting.

Haase's last stand came in the second game of the third set as he took Murray to deuce and sent him scampering around the court. That, though, is something Murray is happy to do and he soaked up the pressure before firing a winner of his own.

There are still areas to work on for Murray, the second serve in particular looked fragile, while the lapse in concentration was in evidence again as he gifted a break back to Haase when leading 4-2 in the third.

Haase followed up the break with a love hold, but Murray regrouped to hold for 5-3 and he closed out the match one game later.

Murray's next assignment will be against the man ranked 100 in the world, after Joao Sousa beat Australian John-Patrick Smith in straight sets.

Jamie Baker's challenge faltered at the first hurdle, as Lukas Rosol beat the Brit 7-6(5) 7-5 6-2.

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