Thursday, 21 January 2016

Andy loves beating Aussies

Andy eats up any Australian he meets in the draw - he has never lost to one since coming to Melbourne for the Aus Open.  So that didn't augur well for Sam Groth as he ventured on to Rod Laver Arena for his second round clash with the second seed.  Sam had done well to defeat Mannarino but Murray posed something a little more difficult to say the least.  A four time finalist here, and twice GS title winner no less.

Well, as expected Andy began well, serving first and from the first point had Sam safe in the knowledge that he would need all of his best tennis to even be competitive.  Murray surprised with the speed of his second serve when required, and he raced to a 1-0 lead.

Groth was lobbed immaculately to begin with, and proceeded to appear flat footed, volley poorly and react slowly as Murray tore into his serve.  Something Sam needed to do was use his big serve to advantage because he was not going to have many chances of breaking the Murray delivery.  Losing his opening serve was not a good basis for the remainder of the match, and a 2-0 deficit was the situation.

Murray just motored along, serving consistently and placing himself in parts of the court where he could generate shots to frustrate Groth into error after error, except for when this was prevented due to exquisite shot making for winners by the number two seed.  His lead grew to 3-0 and then 4-0 with a second break of the Aussie serve which was a mess due to erratic toss and no confidence.

Murray was looking at a 6-0 set win until at 0-5 Groth finally found some rhythm on his delivery and shot out to 40-0.  The miserable Scot refused to let Sam have an ounce of glory though, and thanks to a series of gob stopping lobs he ate up the game points and proceeded to break the Groth serve for a third time tucking the first set away 6-0.

Despite a better effort from Groth he couldn't handle the Murray return of second serves and he lost his opening serve of set two to trail 2-0.

Playing as if on a practice court Murray cruised to a 6-0 3-0 advantage and at this rate half way to a win.

Out of the blue Groth finally held his serve and to love, but he still trailed 1-3 and by a break.  However, he now knew how to win a game and maybe this could throw him into more of a contest.

It seemed to be competitive in the short term as the next games went to serve and Murray was at the line leading 4-2.

Then the big change.  A passing shot by Murray was normal but the forehand down the line by Groth was scintillating and surprising 15-15. A Groth forehand cross court forced an error from the Scot and a weak effort on a second serve return levelled it at 30-30.  Murray netted a forehand and a break point arrived for Groth.  Another forehand error this time long gave the break to Sam and amazingly games were now on serve 3-4 with Sam to the line next.

A double fault interrupted a good service game from Groth but two aces confirmed that games were now 4-4.
Murray back on track holding in a flash for 5-4.  Groth facing two set points after a brilliant passing shot from Murray.  One saved with a big serve, but the second not due to poor play at the net.

After a little bit of excitement for the crowd, Murray did as required and now led 6-0 6-4.

The third set opened as the first two with Sam unable to produce enough on his serve to trouble Andy and he was broken rather predictably to trail 2-0.

Games went to serve and at 1-4 the end of the tournament singles was seemingly near.for Groth.

Sam saved three break points but couldn't be as lucky with a fourth and Murray could now serve for the match.

Sadly one point in Sam injured his ankle.  However it was at 15-0 and not long to go. With courage Groth won the next point but Murray the one after.  On adrenalin Groth whipped a forehand winner cross court before Murray finished things with the final points.

Comprehensive victory to the second seed 6-0 6-4 6-1

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