Mur­ray takes time to find his feet

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BRI­TAIN’S Andy Mur­ray pro­duced a patchy per­for­mance but did enough to see off Florent Serra 7-5 6-1 6-4 and make the fourth round in the Aus­tralian Open.

The fifth seed raced to a 30 lead and fi­nally edged the first set af­ter a brief fight­back from the French­man.

The sec­ond set was a much smoother af­fair and de­spite an­other wob­ble in the mid­dle of the third, Mur­ray kept his cool to se­cure victory.

Mur­ray next faces John Is­ner, who beat 12th seed Gail Mon­fils in four sets.

The gi­ant Amer­i­can 33rd seed beat the French­man 6-1 46 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5).

Mur­ray ad­mit­ted he had let his op­po­nent off the hook in the open­ing set but was pleased to progress.

“The first set was a bit closer than it needed to be. I had chances to go 4-0 up, didn’t take them, and he started to get into it a lit­tle bit,” the 22year-old Scot said.

“But to win in straight sets is re­ally im­por­tant. Es­pe­cially the sec­ond set was good.”

Mur­ray was not ex­pected to have too many prob­lems against the 28-year-old Serra, who needed five sets to beat Jarkko Niem­i­nen in the sec­ond round.

It was the first time the pair had faced each other and the Bri­ton, who had only dropped 12 games in his open­ing two matches, be­gan this en­counter in roar­ing fash­ion.

The fly­ing start showed no let-up with a break and an­other strong ser­vice game, but Mur­ray’s wheels briefly fell off with Serra re­cov­er­ing to 3-3 and the man from Bor­deaux again broke back to soon level at 5-5.

Af­ter reach­ing the fourth round in 2007 and last year, Mur­ray is eye­ing a quar­ter-fi­nal spot for the first time in Mel­bourne.

And he had to over­come a slight back nig­gle be­fore fi­nally wrap­ping up the open­ing set ... with a rip­ping fore- hand fired at Serra’s feet.

The French player, who has never pro­gressed be­yond the sec­ond round at the Aus­tralian Open, looked de­flated – hav­ing done so well to hit back in the first set.

Bri­tain’s num­ber one moved up through the gears from that point to race to a two-set lead – with a stun­ning lob and pass the high­lights in game six.

The US Open run­nerup of 2008 was again quick out of the blocks in set three, but his­tory re­peated it­self by Mur­ray hand­ing the ini­tia­tive back to his op­po­nent af­ter lead­ing 3-0.

With the Hisense Arena an­tic­i­pat­ing a po­ten­tial come­back, the Bri­ton how­ever found his range and with his serve con­tin­u­ing to per­form ef­fi­ciently, and at times ruth­lessly, his victory was soon com­pleted in just un­der two hours.

Mur­ray re­vealed his back was sore as a re­sult of the sticky courts and be­lieved his fourthround clash would be a chal­lenge. “Is­ner is tough,” he added. “He won last week and beat Andy Rod­dick at the US Open.

“He is six foot nine and causes peo­ple prob­lems.” –

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