Tramlines

‘Easier than it looks’

Tramlines

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It might have been a slip of the tongue, but when Andy Murray said his 6-1 6-1 6-2 demolition of Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez was "easier than the scoreline suggested", he could have been forgiven.

Murray was quick to correct his faux pas in the courtside interview with Jim Courier, but there was no denying his utter domination of the match, right from the moment he was passed by an incredible early shot (see below).

Murray simply blew away his opponent from that moment on, making his claim - unintentional or not - entirely plausible.

It's not an assertion that can be made often, not least by Murray, who normally makes things look far more difficult than they should be. But out on Rod Laver today, there was an ease about him and the way he dismantled Garcia-Lopez - who it should be noted, had started the match brilliantly - was scary.

Of course Murray will face stiffer challenges, most imminently from Juergen Melzer, but his performance today, off the back of his straight set wins in his previous two games, has given him the perfect platform from which to mount a serious second week assault on the championship.

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Talking of assaults, no one likes to see a face-off on a tennis court - it's so un-gentlemanly - but that's what we had to endure today during a doubles match featuring players who should really know better.

Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes squared up at the net with Feliciano Lopez and Juan Monaco at the end of their doubles match in the heat of the day on Court 2.

In the blue corner, the Indians were unhappy about the Spaniards supposed 'bodyline' tactics, while in the red corner, Team Lopez-Monaco were riled by their opponents' continual shouting of the word 'vamos' throughout the game.

"They were probably not happy that we used the word 'vamos'," Bhupathi explained. "I don't think they have a patent on that one. 

"It was good for the game, I think. I mean, heat of the moment. It's hot out there, we're trying to beat each other. A few unnecessary things were said. You know, we just got into each other. Tried to raise the atmosphere. The crowd loved it. We got into it."

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The problems that surfaced (no pun intended) on Hisense Arena yesterday returned today as another bubble rose upwards and a second dead spot appeared, this time during Robin Soderling's clash with Jan Hernych.

Play was again interrupted as officials tended to the area that Soderling had noticed on the Plexicushion hardcourt surface - although there is still no official line on why it keeps happening.

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To be honest, Hisense has far from impressed Tramlines so far this tournament. Essentially, it's a velodrome (the rising curves of the track can be seen in between the stands) and with the crowd so far away from the action, atmosphere is virtually zero.

Far better in Trammers' opinion to send the big guns down onto Margaret Court Arena for the evening sessions. MCA is a proper tennis stadium - crowd on top of the action, no corporate seats and (nasty bugs aside) a fantastic place to spend an evening watching tennis as the sun sets over the beautiful Melbourne skyline.

NON SURPRISE OF THE DAY: As Kim Clijsters won match point against Alize Cornet on Rod Laver, the tennis world held its breath as they waited to see what she was going to do for her next trick when Todd Woodbridge shoved the microphone in front of her.

Fortunately for everyone concerned, it was sometime Eurosport commentator and Channel 7 roving reporter Sam Smith who took to the court with the mike to do the interview with Kim. Now there's a safe pair of hands if there ever was one. Not half as entertaining, mind.

HAM IT UP CORNER: Featuring... who else but professional funnyman and sometime tennis player Novak Djokovic! The Serb may be able to move around a court pretty nimbly with a racquet in his hand, but when it comes to dancing round the tramlines, he's not up to much, as this video with Dancing With The Stars dancer Kym Johnson proves.

FANS OF THE DAY: With Tomas Berdych not playing, it was up to other fans to raise their game and stand out today. Andy Murray's band of merry men and the French contingent following Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did their best to fill the gap but the prize must go to the persons dressed as a banana and a gorilla on Margaret Court Arena. In the warm Melbourne sunshine. All day. Nutters.

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A special mention must also go to the lovely quartet of Sam Stosur fans, who earlier in the week had been a sextet of lovely Sam Stosur fans. Quite where the other two got to is anyone's guess, but full marks to the others for improvising with two letters instead of one on each shirt, and an added exclamation mark on number four.

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TWEET OF THE DAY: "Def could've fried an egg on court today. I have a second degree burn on my thumb from crouching down in an "I" formation in doubles!!" Bethany Mattek-Sands delivers yet again.

SHOT OF THE DAY: As mentioned earlier, the honours simply must go to Guillermo Garcia Lopez for his sensational through-the-legs-winner on the second point of his match against Murray.

CAPTION CORNER: This is Petra Kvitova, conqueror of Sam Stosur. Over to you...

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