sport

Murray forced to dig deep

Andy Murray started his year with a 6-1 5-7 6-3 victory over qualifier John Millman at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

Top seed and defending champion Murray, who lost to Janko Tipsarevic at his season-opening exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week, raced through the opening set before encountering more resistance in the second.

Millman, the world number 199, broke in the seventh game but faltered when serving at 5-4 to level the match.

He was given a second chance as Murray handed the break straight back and this time Millman was able to serve it out.

Murray quickly restored order in the decider and closed out victory after two hours and five minutes on court.

He will play Denis Istomin in the third round after the Uzbek beat wildcard Lleyton Hewitt 7-5 7-5.

Murray told atptour.com: "I wasn't too disappointed with the way I played. For a first match of the year, that was a perfect match in many ways to go through some tough moments, a lot of long rallies, close games and important points."

Having been broken twice in the second set as the 23-year-old Millman, playing in only his fifth tour-level match, fought back to take the tie into an unlikely decider, fears grew for Murray as he looked in some pain at times in the third set.

However, he managed to claim the solitary break to wrap up a hard-fought victory.

Murray added: "I think it was a pretty high-quality match. The first set wasn't that comfortable. He gained confidence and started going for his shots more.

"He was returning my first serve extremely well and playing right up on the baseline and just going for big shots. It was tough for me to dictate too many of the points.

"I made some adjustments with the way I was serving in the third set that turned it around, but he played really, really well for the most part."

Second seed Milos Raonic crashed out in his second-round match, the Canadaian going down 6-3 6-4 to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.

Number seven seed Jurgen Melzer saw off Belgium's David Goffin 6-4 7-6 (7/4).