Big hitters .jpg

Big hitters

Andrew Murray’s hopes of securing his maiden Grand Slam title at the age of 22 remained on course at the Australian Open as the British No1, and fourth-ranked player in the world, came through a curtailed first round encounter against Czech veteran Andrei Pavel, who retired with back problems when trailing 6-2, 3-1.

That effortless performance had been preceded by equally impressive opening displays by main rivals Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

In the women’s draw, Serb duo Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic only produced the minimum necessary to dismiss their less fancied opponents, while No3 seed Dinara Safina as well as Serena and Venus Williams all also safely negotiated the first hurdle – but the in-form Elena Dementieva struggled to overcome a lowly qualifier 7-6, 2-6, 6-1.