After stutter Murray advances to Australian Open last eight
January 20, 2014 09:09 am
Andy Murray overcame a lapse in concentration to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
The number four seed and three-time finalist looked to be cruising against qualifier Stéphane Robert, who made the main draw as a lucky loser, only to suddenly stutter with the finish line in sight.
He won the first two sets in double quick time but squandered two match points as his opponent rallied, Murray dropping his first set of the tournament on a tie-break.
But the British number one soon recovered, his 33-year old opponent - who had played six matches to reach the second round of a Slam for the first time in his career - seeming to struggle with an injury.
And he closed out the match 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2, holding his final service game to love and completing the win with a thundering ace.
"He's a fun player to watch but not to play against," said Murray.
"He made it very tricky for me, he's very unorthodox. You want to, if you can, close these matches out when you have the opportunity.
"I think I had three or four match points on my own serve. I tried to stay focused at the beginning of the fourth set, got an early break and that helped."
It's a fifth consecutive quarter-final at the Australian Open for the Olympic and Wimbledon champion and a 12th straight last-eight appearance in all Grand Slams.
In truth Murray, in only his second tournament since returning from back surgery, has not yet been tested in Melbourne but acknowledges the tournament will now get serious with either Jo Wilfried Tsonga or Roger Federer awaiting in the last eight.
© Sportsbeat 2014