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Murray makes winning start

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 16-01-2017 skysports.com

Getty

Getty
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World No 1 Andy Murray kicked off his Australian Open campaign with a hard-fought straight-sets victory against Illya Marchenko on Monday. 

The top seed had been expected to make short work of Ukraine's Marchenko, having beaten him in straight sets in the second round in 2011, but was pushed hard before prevailing 7-5 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in two hours and 47 minutes.

Murray conceded a 5-3 lead in the first set, but broke at a crucial time to eventually take it in 55 minutes. He then fought back from 4-2 down in a physical encounter to win the next in a tie-break, with temperatures touching 32 degrees Celsius.

And he capitalised on a fading Marchenko with two breaks of serve in the third as he finally found his range to complete victory on Rod Laver Arena.

Murray will be looking to improve on a scruffy performance that included 27 unforced errors when he faces world No 152 Andrey Rublev next after the 19-year-old Russian upset Yen-Hsun Lu, 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-0) 6-3.

"I've never won here," said Murray, who has lost a record five finals at Melbourne Park. "Lost in the final a few times so I'm hoping to go one better this time."

Aljaz Bedene became Britain's first casualty after he lost in four sets to Dominican veteran Victor Estrella Burgos.

Estrella Burgos, who turns 37 later this year, is the fourth oldest singles player in the men's draw in Melbourne but he proved too strong for an inconsistent Bedene, winning 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 0-6 6-3.

It is the fifth time in a row Bedene has lost in the opening round in Melbourne while world No 103 Estrella Burgos goes through to face Australian Bernard Tomic.

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