MELBOURNE: Andy Murray raced through his second-round match like he was in a hurry to get somewhere, winning 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 against an Aussie who was playing on Rod Laver Arena for the first time.
With his pregnant wife back in Britain, due to have their first baby next month, the No. 2-ranked Murray doesn’t want to labor too many points as he bids to win the Australian Open title for the first time after losing four finals.
Murray improved his perfect record against Australian opponents to 17-0 when he beat Sam Groth on Thursday.
Groth, who boasts the fastest serve in tennis, let it be known just as they were preparing to enter the center court at Melbourne Park that he’d never played on the biggest stage at the season’s first major.
Murray, who has one of the best returns of serve in the game, didn’t give Groth much of a look before closing with an ace his 10th in 1 hour, 31 minutes.
“It’s been a very good start,” Murray said, “but I can get better, for sure.”
French Open champion Stan Wawrinka, who won the Australian title in 2014, reached the third round for the eighth consecutive year with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over 37-year-old qualifier Radek Stepanek.
No. 32-seeded Joao Sousa beat Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 and will play Murray in the next round. Fernando Verdasco lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) to Dudi Sela out an outdoor court, a surprising defeat coming two days after he beat 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal in five sets.
No. 25 Jack Sock lost 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-3 to Lukas Rosol and No. 30 Jeremy Chardy lost to Andrey Kuznetsov.
Other big servers had more success than Groth. No. 10 John Isner fired 20 aces and 53 winners in a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) win over Marcel Granollers, and No. 14 Milos Raonic had 24 aces as he fended off Tommy Robredo 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 7-5 in a match containing one service break.
No. 18 Feliciano Lopez, No. 21 Viktor Troicki, No. 23 Monfils, and No. 31 Steve Johnson also advanced.
There was a lengthy delay on Rod Laver Arena in the first match of the day, during Ana Ivanovic’s 6-3, 6-3 win over Anastasija Sevastova.
The 2008 finalist was leading Sevastova 4-3 in the first set when medical personnel rushed to help a spectator who had fallen on the stairs in the upper level of the 15,000 seat stadium.
The players stayed on the court during the break, getting regular updates from tournament officials.
“First I felt really bad. I was really shaking, because the sound of the lady falling was really loud,” she said. “I stopped immediately.
“I was really shaking, because I could imagine and it was not so nice. I hope she’s well.”
Tournament organizers said the spectator was treated in the stadium before being taken by stretcher for observation and more treatment.
Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza , the 2015 Wimbledon finalist, advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens, No. 7 Angelique Kerber beat Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2, 6-4 and No. 15 Madison Keys beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3.
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka returned from an injury layoff to win the Brisbane International title leading into the Australian Open and continued her strong run with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Danka Kovinic.
Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka beat No. 18 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4, and No. 11 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 19 Jelena Jankovic and No. 30 Sabine Lisicki were other seeded players to go out.
Zhang Shuai beat Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-3 to follow up her opening upset win over No. 2-ranked Simona Halep.