Murray battles past local hero Millman

January 04, 2013 - 5:56:10 am

Murray battles past local hero MillmanBRISBANE: Andy Murray narrowly avoided the wrath of coach Ivan Lendl after labouring to a 6-1 5-7 6-3 win over Australian qualifier John Millman in his opening match at the Brisbane International yesterday.

The US Open champion ran hot but mostly cold against the 199th ranked player in a match of wildly fluctuating tennis that lasted two hours and four minutes at Pat Rafter Arena.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist revealed that former world number one Lendl, who was due to arrive in Brisbane on Friday, had not even considered the possibility of the Scot losing to Millman.

Before the second-round match, Lendl had sent a text message to the 25-year-old’s hitting parter Danny Vallverdu asking what time Murray’s quarter-final against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin would be today

“December 22nd was the last day we trained in Miami before I went home. He messaged Danny and said, ‘Can you send me the score and what time he’s playing tomorrow before the match?’ He hadn’t heard of John before,” said the Scot after yesterday’s victory.

“He was obviously expecting me to come through, but it was very nearly a different story. The depth of the game now is so, so strong. None of the matches are easy. It was a bit different back in Ivan’s day where they could kind of cruise a little bit the first couple rounds.”

Murray was horribly out of sorts in a tight second set, clutching at his back, thigh and shoulder. His class shone through but it was not one of his finest efforts.

“I had seen John’s name before, but I hadn’t seen him play,” he said. “I think it’s important when you don’t know how someone plays to find out about their character a little bit.

“He’s very consistent...he can play quite a long way behind the baseline and doesn’t take too many risks. And then, you know, he was going for absolute bombs and making them,” he added.

 Second-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic was eliminated 6-3 6-4 in the biggest boilover of the event by 21-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, nicknamed Baby Federer for the similarity of his technique to Roger Federer’s.