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Aus Open PHOTOS: Murray negates Groth's attack; Azarenka advances

Last updated on: January 21, 2016 19:02 IST

IMAGES from Day 4 of the Australian Open in Melbourne, on Thursday.

Andy Murray

IMAGE: Andy Murray plays a forehand in his second round match. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Andy Murray executed his game-plan to negate the one booming weapon that Sam Groth possessed to beat the unseeded Australian 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 and advance to the third round.

Murray had said after the first round that he knew exactly what to expect against Groth -- big serve and a large frame to chip or pass at the net -- and the 28-year Briton did exactly what he needed to leave his opponent scrambling from the outset.

The world number two took 29 minutes to race through the first set, which included a nine-minute fourth game, and while Groth's serve found its range in the second, Murray still managed to pull out the big points when he needed.

Murray continued his momentum into the third set, racing out to a 3-0 lead that he built on to set up a third round clash with Joao Sousa of Portugal.

Wawrinka stops Stepanek

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a backhand

IMAGE: Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a backhand in his second round match against Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka was given a thorough workout before beating 37-year-old Radek Stepanek 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the third round.

The 30-year-old Swiss, who won the title in 2014, was occasionally bamboozled by the Czech veteran's serve-and-volley game but kept his composure to triumph after a two-hour contest on Hisense Arena.

The pair exchanged breaks, and line-call challenges, in a thoroughly entertaining 57-minute third set before Stepanek went long to send Wawrinka into the third round for the eighth year in a row.

Champion at Melbourne Park two years ago, Wawrinka will meet American Jack Sock or another Czech in Lukas Rosol in the half of the draw left weakened by the first round exit of Rafa Nadal.

Nadal's conqueror Verdasco loses in second round

Dudi Sela

IMAGE: Israel's Dudi Sela celebrates after winning his second round match against Fernando Verdasco. Photograph: John French/Reuters

Israel's world number 87 Dudi Sela succeeded where Rafael Nadal failed when he subdued Spain's Fernando Verdasco to reach the third round.

Verdasco, who stunned the 14-times Grand Slam champion in a five-set epic, won the opening set against the Israeli but faded to lose 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4).

The Spaniard looked fatigued from his exploits against Nadal while the diminutive Sela, cheered on by a flag-waving contingent of fans, struggled with nerves near the end.

Verdasco's cause was not helped by consecutive double-faults in the fourth set tiebreak, gifting Sela a 5-2 lead.

He managed to save a match point but finished the job with a well-struck backhand return that Verdasco netted.

Sela, 30, will now play Frenchman Jeremy Chardy or Russian Andrey Kuznetsov for a place in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for only the second time in his career.

Ferrer ends era by sending Hewitt into retirement

David Ferrer of Spain and Lleyton Hewitt of Australia meet at the net

IMAGE: David Ferrer of Spain and Lleyton Hewitt of Australia meet at the net following their second round match during the Australian Open in Melbourne. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Spain's David Ferrer ended an era in Australian tennis by sending former world number one Lleyton Hewitt into retirement with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory in their second round clash.

World number eight Ferrer was in no mood for sentimentality to give his 34-year-old opponent a fairytale finish to his last tournament as he clinched the crucial points, especially when Hewitt's periodic fightbacks brought the crowd into the match.

Ferrer broke Hewitt twice in the first set after some early typically pugnacious defence and counter-punching from Hewitt and then held serve in a marathon eighth game of the second set to consolidate an earlier break.

The 33-year-old Spaniard broke Hewitt early, then gave it back before he broke again in the seventh game, which was enough of an advantage to set up a third round clash with Steve Johnson of the United States. 

Ivanovic advances to Round 3

Ana Ivanovic

IMAGE: Ana Ivanovic plays a forehand. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, a runner up at Melbourne Park in 2008, eased into the third round following a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Anastasija Sevastova.

"Every match is tough here, even in the first week. I'm really thrilled to be through," she said.

Azarenka pounds Kovinic to march on

Victoria Azarenka

IMAGE: Victoria Azarenka in action. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

A red-hot Victoria Azarenka stormed into the third round of the Australian Open, hammering Montenegro's Danka Kovinic 6-1, 6-2 at Margaret Court Arena.

The twice champion and 14th seed next faces WTA rising star Naomi Osaka.

Muguruza romps past Flipkens

Garbine Muguruza

IMAGE: Garbine Muguruza of Spain. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Third seed Garbine Muguruza continued her impressive start with a 6-4, 6-2 demolition of Belgian Kirtsten Flipkens at Rod Laver Arena.

"I'm extremely happy with today, Kirsten has a really different game and it can be tricky so I'm very happy to be in the third round," Muguruza said courtside.

"Just happy to be here and playing great tennis."

Dark horse Raonic getting the job done

Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates winning his second round match against Tommy Robredo of Spain

IMAGE: Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates winning his second round match against Tommy Robredo of Spain. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

If one of the key attributes of a champion is getting a result when you are not playing at your best, Milos Raonic can be pretty happy with his victory over Tommy Robredo.

The Canadian 13th seed is shaping up as a dark horse at Melbourne Park after beating Roger Federer to win the Brisbane international two weeks ago and hammering Lucas Pouille 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round.

His second round encounter with the tough Spaniard was a far trickier affair and he mixed 59 unforced errors with 75 winners to take out Robredo 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 7-5 in just under three hours on showcourt two.

"I felt I was sort of forcing it a bit too much. I was trying to sort of lug the ball around more than playing a little bit more smoothly like I had in my previous matches," he told reporters.

"I don't think I played as clean as I would have liked ... but at the end of the day, the most important thing is I got the win."

The 25-year-old's game has always been built on his powerful serve and he duly blasted 24 aces in the win, which secured him a date with another tough competitor, Serbian Viktor Troicki, in the third round.

Big serving Isner downs Granollers

John Isner

IMAGE: John Isner serves in his second round match. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Tenth seed John Isner got the better of Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6) at Hisense Arena. The towering American fires 20 aces in the win to set up a match with either Feliciano Lopez or Guido Pella.

"My serve bailed me out today," Isner said after the win.

Monfils tops Mahut

Gael Monfils

IMAGE: Gael Monfils of France. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Gael Monfils made only 10 unforced errors as he won the all-French clash against Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 6-4, 6-1 on Margaret Court Arena.

The first man from the bottom half of the draw into the third round, Monfils next plays another compatriot in Stephane Robert or American Rajeev Ram.