Murray on course for Australian Open after win over Soeda

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Andy Murray started as he means to go on at the Australian Open this week with a straight sets victory over Go Soeda, which sets him up nicely for what should be a relatively simple second round win.

The Scot is still available at 7/1 with Ladbrokes to claim the elusive Melbourne major and is next in action against world number 267 Vincent Millot, with the Wimbledon champion expected to progress with ease.

He was certainly in no mood to hang around against Soeda, with the 26-year-old making light work of his opponent, who is ranked 112th in the world, winning 6-1 6-1 6-3.

This routine victory was made all the more impressive considering the soaring heat witnessed Down Under, with temperatures exceeding 40C.

Murray remained focused throughout though, hitting a solid 12 aces and winning 80 per cent of the points played on his first serve in a match that last just 87 minutes – something that could stand the Scot in good stead ahead of any of the potentially gruelling encounters to come.

The 2012 US Open champion was also helped elsewhere, as his projected fourth round opponent and 13th seed John Isner was forced to retire from the tournament with a foot injury.

His first big test could come in round three, with Murray on course to meet 26 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, though his opponent faces a tricky match against Edouard Roger-Vasselin to progress.

The Scot is aiming to reach his fourth Australian Open final in five years, with the SW19 hero likely to face Novak Djokovic in the final.

Potential quarter-final opponent and 22/1 outsider for the title Roger Federer, meanwhile, progressed to the second round with ease, while the man Murray will most likely meet in the semis, Rafael Nadal, benefitted from an early injury to home favourite Bernard Tomic to progress.

The 10/3 second favourite got through after the Australian withdrew due to injury with just a single set of tennis played between the pair.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.