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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Andy Murray cruises to victory against Robin Haase

Andy Murray celebrates during his match against Robin Haase during day four of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon
Andy Murray celebrates during his match against Robin Haase during day four of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon

Andy Murray hardly broke sweat as the British number one strolled into the Wimbledon third round with a straight-sets victory over Robin Haase.

Murray was left unsatisfied by his battling first-round win over Mikhail Kukushkin on Tuesday but this was a near-faultless performance from the Scot, who cruised through 6-1 6-1 6-4.

Italian 25th seed Andreas Seppi or Croatia's talented 18-year-old Borna Coric await in round three, as Murray continues his bid for a second title at the All England Club.

Dutchman Haase, ranked 78th in the world, pushed Murray to his physical limits in an exhausting battle at last year's US Open and took him to five sets at the same tournament in 2011.

There was little sign of a similar marathon unfolding early on, however, as Murray stamped his mark on the match with some brilliant shot-making in front of an enthralled home crowd.

A long forehand gave Murray an early break in the third game before an instinctive backhand pass and a beautifully placed lob secured a second break and a 4-1 lead.

Haase was simply unable to keep up, as another forehand long allowed Murray to seal the set with a third break in just 19 minutes.

Grass is a surface on which Haase is usually comfortable, having used his heavy serve to beat both Ivo Karlovic and Fernando Verdasco at 's-Hertogenbosch last month, but the 28-year-old seemed lost in the face of Murray's variety and speed of thought.

An instant break in the second set opened up a 3-0 lead, and while a temporary lapse in concentration offered Haase a chance to break back, he failed to capitalise, and Murray broke again to clinch the second set.

Outclassed for the best part of 50 minutes, Haase threw caution to the wind at the start of the third set, unleashing a thundering forehand winner, which was greeted with raptures of encouragement from his box.

Even a few British voices were urging Haase on and the more aggressive approach paid dividends during a short spell of parity.

For every winner from Haase, however, there was also an unforced error and Murray capitalised in the seventh game to claim another break.

Haase continued to blast away until the end but Murray was more than able to keep up as a thumping backhand of his own sealed a comfortable victory in one hour and 28 minutes.

Murray told the BBC: "It was a good match from start to finish for me and obviously getting the early lead helped.

"I was very happy with the way that I played. I felt there were some things I could have done better in the first round but my opponent, Kukushkin, was playing unbelievably aggressive and made it very difficult for me to impose myself in the match, whereas today I did that much better.

"I was able to come forward, I felt like I dictated more of the baseline rallies and had a good match."

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