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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Murray eases into quarters

Scot storms past Melzer in straight sets in Melbourne

Andy Murray coasted into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open today with a straight-sets defeat of 11th seed Jurgen Melzer.

Melzer was expected to provide Murray with his first serious test of the tournament, but proved no match for the Scot, who has yet to drop a set in Melbourne as he bids to land his first grand slam title.

Murray produced a mature, controlled performance to win 6-3 6-1 6-1 in one hour and 44 minutes, contrasting sharply with that offered by Melzer, the Austrian spraying the ball all over Rod Laver Arena as his all-or-nothing game was woefully exposed.

Murray, the world number five, will meet Alexandr Dolgopolov in the last eight after the Ukrainian stunned fourth seed Robin Soderling in a five-set thriller.

And the 23-year-old admitted he was surprised by the ease of his win.

"Yeah, he had a good year on tour last year, I was surprised but I played a great match," Murray said.

"I am hitting the ball well right now and have played four good matches."

However, Murray accepts it is likely to get tougher against emerging star Dolgopolov.

"I have known him quite a while and played him when we were young in Davis Cup. He is unorthodox but is a tough player," added Murray, who was watched by mum Judy after she missed the clash with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Saturday.

"My brother was playing doubles at the same time and I am not the favourite son so I got bumped for that one," Murray joked. "My brother lost that one so she was able to come today."

World number four Soderling was beaten more convincingly than the 1-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-2 scoreline suggests and had no excuses afterwards.

Dolgopolov had never been beyond the third round of a major before but Soderling was adamant he was not caught out by the quality of the 22-year-old's game.

The Swede said: "I never underestimate anyone. I just didn't feel good and didn't play well enough. Simple as that.

"I struggled throughout the whole match. I won the first set, yeah, but I didn't win it because I played well. He wasn't on it at the start.



Consolation

"Then he started to play much better, which I didn't.

"He's a good player. He has a great backhand and moves well. He's a great counter-puncher and has a good chance to do really well."

Soderling's exit meant he was left to reflect on another disappointing Australian Open campaign. He had never before got past the second round in Melbourne but that was scant consolation for a player many observers felt could challenge for the title.

Second seed Vera Zvonareva needed just 76 minutes to book her place in the quarter-finals today.

Zvonareva will meet Petra Kvitova in the last eight after beating another Czech player, Iveta Benesova, 6-4 6-1 on Hisense Arena.

The 26-year-old Russian hit four aces and 21 winners in total as she broke her opponent's serve five times.

Zvonareva reached two grand slam finals in 2010 -- at Wimbledon and the US Open -- and will be favourite to make it into the semi-finals when she takes on 25th seed Kvitova in the quarters.

Kvitova put out 22nd seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy, recovering from a set down to win 3-6 6-3 6-3.

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