Murray, Fritz polish Australian Open form with Kooyong wins

Andy Murray and Taylor Fritz applied a final layer of gloss to their pre-Australian Open form Thursday with straight-sets wins at the Kooyong Classic.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray scored a confidence-boosting 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Australian world number 24 Alex de Minaur, while Fritz followed up on his Team USA United Cup title by toppling Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.

Murray spent a profitable two days at Kooyong, overcoming China's Zhang Zhizhen on Wednesday.

"I had a good level in today's match and part of yesterday's," said the British veteran. "I'm playing the tennis I need to try and be successful. The courts require aggressive tennis, the balls shoot through."

Murray, who has only played the Melbourne Park major twice in the last five editions due to a pair of hip surgeries, said his confidence was growing by the day.

"I like the conditions here, I'm hitting the ball well and moving well. When I do that my tennis tends to be good," he said.

"I'll focus the next couple of days on maintaining and hopefully having a good run (at the Open).

"Since the US Open I've put in a lot of work. If I can get through a few rounds (in Melbourne) I don't see why I can't do well."

He will have his work cut out from round one after being drawn against Italian world number 14 Matteo Berrettini.

World number nine Fritz echoed Murray's sentiments: "It's nice to go out and play in front of a crowd," he said. "It was a nice little tune-up.

"I couldn't have started the year much better... winning the United Cup and then having a week to train and polish."

The Wimbledon quarter-finalist, who will start his Australian Open against Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, has his eye on major goals for 2023.

"I want a top five ranking, I want a big result at a Slam -- that's what's really missing right now," he said.

"I see myself in a Grand Slam final with the chance to play for the title. That's something I've never done before. With my level now I think I can achieve that."

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