(January 21, 2016) No. 2 seed Andy Murray extended his unbeaten streak against Australian players with a dominant 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 second round win over big-serving Sam Groth on Thursday at the Australian Open.
After the 91-minute match, the Scotsman paid tribute to the retiring Lleyton Hewitt: “He was someone I loved watching growing up. His attitude toward competition I loved,” Murray said. “He fought, well, fights extremely hard to this day. He still has the same passion to win.
“He was an idol for me, I actually named one of my dogs after him because he was someone that I loved growing up.”
Murray, who is an expectant father, with his wife due to have the baby next month, has made it known that if his wife goes into labor during the tournament, he will fly home immediately.
Murray’s next opponent in the third round is the 32nd seed Joao Sousa. Murray assess his challenger:
“This is maybe the third time I played him here. We also played at the French last year. He’s almost the opposite to Groth really. Plays predominantly from the back of the court. Very solid from the baseline. Doesn’t obviously serve so big, but makes a lot of returns.
“He’s a very good mover. Good athlete. He wins. He knows how to win matches. He understands the game well and he gets the most out of his game.
“So, you know, if I play well, I got a good chance obviously. But, you know, he’s the sort of player that if your level’s not quite there, he’ll make it very tough for you, as he did when I played him at the French Open. I was in a bit of trouble against him there.”
Lleyton Hewitt’s singles career ended at the hands of No. 8 David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday night. This was the former No. 1’s 20th Australian Open.
“Left nothing in the locker room. That’s something I can be proud of,” said Hewitt after the match joine on the court by his three children. “My whole career, I’ve given 100 percent.”
Hewitt, who played his first Australian Open in 1997, won his first title at the age of 16 and was ranked No. 1 at age 20, was joined on court by his three children after he match.
“I felt like this was the perfect place to finish,” he said.
“Out on the court obviously you got so many things going through your head. You’re trying to soak it up as much as possible out there one last time,” Hewitt said in press.
“You know, it was an unbelievable atmosphere out there. A couple of the roars during the match tonight was as loud as I’ve ever played in front of. I was getting goosebumps at times. Obviously just watching the video and hearing those great players talk about you in that light, you know, was pretty emotional.
“Especially when I got back in the locker room, I guess that hits you a little bit more then. When I’m with my close friends and coaching staff that have helped me so much out, yeah, it’s sort of a strange feeling because you’re obviously disappointed not to keep going, but obviously proud of everything we’ve done as well.”
2014 Australian champion, 4th seed Stan Wawrinka advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over 37-year-old veteran qualifier Radek Stepanek.
“Really happy,” said the Swiss. “Was a good match in general. Three sets win against Stepanek, Hisense Arena.”
“Two match, two victory. Today was a really good level on the tennis side. Just focus every match, trying to rest between, trying to be ready for the next one.”
Other men’s seeds advancing were No. 10 John Isner, No. 13 Milos Raonic, No. 16 Bernard Tomic, No. 18 Feliciano Lopez, No. 23 Gael Monfils, and No. 31 Steve Johnson.
Rafael Nadal conqueror Fernando Verdasco was conquered 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) by Dudi Sela. Other surprises among the men’s seeds included No. 25 Jack Sock who lost to to Lukas Rosol and No. 30 Jeremy Chardy who fell to Andrey Kuznetsov.
On the women’s side of the draw – Ana Ivanovic’s match was delayed when a fan fell down some stairs. The Serbian defeated Anastasija Sevastova ‘s 6-3, 6-3.
Other seeds advancing were third-seeded Garbine, No. 7 Angelique Kerber, two-time Australian Open champion and 14th seed Victoria Azarenka and No. 15 Madison Keys.
The upsets continued on the women’s side as Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka beat No. 18 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4. Other seeds to fall on Thursday included No. 11 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 19 Jelena Jankovic and No. 30 Sabine Lisicki.