World number one Andy Murray was made to work hard to progress to the second round of the Australian Open after beating Ukrainian Illya Marchencko. The Scot toiled hard to secure a 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 win in two hours and 47 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
Murray was broken in his opening service game, having secured a break of his own. However, he managed to avoid the tie-breaker when he broke Marchenko again in the 12th game to take the first set. The second started in disastrous fashion as he was broken in the third game, before the Scot fought to break back in the eighth before taking the second set 7-6 in the tie breaker.
The 29-year-old Ukrainian put in a lot of effort to stand toe-to-toe with the number one seed, but he was unable to live with Murray as the match progressed. The five-time beaten finalist in Melbourne took command from the start oft he third to Marchenko on two occasions to sail in to a 5-1 lead. The three-time grand slam champion did not give his opponent a chance to comeback this time around and closed out the final set 6-2.
Murray won 83% of his first-serve points which were crucial while his winners and unforced errors count were almost identical – 25 and 27 respectively. Marchenko on the other hand hit 46 winners, but made 62 unforced errors. The Scot will now face Russia's Andrey Rublev in the second round.
Meanwhile, Great Britain suffered their first casualty of the tournament when number four Aljaz Bedene succumbed in four sets to Dominican Republic's Victor Estrella Burgos. The Slovenia-born, 108 ranked player lost 7-6, 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 in three hours and nine minutes to the 36-year-old, who for the first time is progressing past the first round.
In the women's draw, there was a major upset on the opening day of competition when world number four seed Simona Halep was knocked out in straight sets by unseeded American Shelby Rogers. Halep, who is a two-time quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park went down 6-3, 6-1, but revealed after the match that she was struggling with a knee injury.