Australian Open: Impressive start from Andy Murray
Last Updated: 14/01/14 9:26am
Andy Murray: Opened his Australian Open campaign in style
Andy Murray gave a statement of his intent at the Australian Open with an impressive 6-1 6-1 6-3 victory over Go Soeda.
The fourth seed has had a low-key build up to the first grand slam of 2014, with recovery from back surgery having limited his game time.
However there were clear signs that Murray was back to his grand slam-winning best on Hisense Arena - even if his opponent was out of his depth.
Soeda, the world No 112 from Japan, showed plenty of willing, but he could find no answer to the array of shots coming at him from the Wimbledon champion.
Soeda did serve out the opening game to love but that was as good as got for the 29-year-old as Murray claimed the next nine games without barely breaking a sweat - which was no mean feat as temperatures in Melbourne topped 43 degrees.
The first set came and went in 23 minutes, with Murray playing some delightful tennis - with his serve, in particular, looking a real dangerous weapon.
Although Soeda showed a little more fight in the second set he could do little to stop the Murray onslaught.
Murray's intensity levels dropped a little at the start of the third set - and it was perhaps understandable given his lead, the level of his opponent and the oppressive heat.
Soeda was unable to take full advantage, though, and his resistance was broken once again in the seventh game.
Murray consolidated before breaking Soeda once again to clinch the match in impressive style.
Murray said: "It was my first grand slam game since back surgery so I was taking nothing for granted. I am really happy to win in straight sets.
"When you haven't played for a while you are pretty stressed out before the match and nervous to know how the back is going to respond. But it felt good today so hopefully I will wake up tomorrow with no after effects of the match, but it has been a good start for me so hopefully I can keep going.
"I always get good support here. It is a tournament I have come close at in the past with three finals and a semi-final as well. I am more confident than I was a few years ago but I am lacking a bit of match practice. I need the crowd behind me so hopefully I can go one better."