Top seed Sir Andy Murray has played down fears his Australian Open campaign could be derailed by injury.
Murray overcame Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev and a rolled ankle to advance to the third round in straight sets on Wednesday night.
The 19-year-old Rublev was horribly outmatched against the world No.1, who was in no mood to hang around, dispatching his young opponent 6-3 6-0 6-2.
But a hush fell over the Rod Laver Arena crowd early in the third set when Murray collapsed in pain after his right ankle buckled underneath him as he played a forehand shot.
“It’s just a little bit stiff just now, it’s okay, I don’t think I’ve done too much damage,” Murray told reporters at his post-match media conference. “I heard a few sort of little crackles, and it was sore, it was throbbing kind of the rest of the match.
“I was moving fine on it, though. It was just sore. So you’re thinking about it because you have a little bit of pain when you’re moving around. Also when you’re moving into certain positions again on the court, you don’t want to do the same movement again.
“But I was moving fine towards the end of the match.”
A physiotherapist was called to the court to briefly inspect the ankle but a medical time out was not required.
Despite the mishap, Murray broke his 152nd-ranked opponent in the next game and went on to win the match in an hour and 37 minutes. Murray will play No.31 seed Sam Querrey in the third round after the big-serving American knocked out local wildcard Alex De Minaur in straight sets.
After a scratchy performance in the first round against Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko, the Scot feels he has lifted his game to another level.
“I did pretty good tonight … it was better than the first match,” he said. “I was hitting the ball a bit cleaner. I was hitting through the court more with more winners. I was able to get myself up to net more. I served way better, too. That helps you and allows you to dictate more points.
“Most things were better tonight, but I still think I can improve.”