sport

Murray marches on Down Under

Andy Murray had few problems overcoming Feliciano Lopez to move into the last 16 of the Australian Open.

The fourth seed had beaten the Spaniard in each of their seven previous encounters and Murray made it 8-0 winning 7-6 6-4 6-2.

Murray has an excellent record against left-handers, which he attributes largely to having grown up playing against his brother Jamie.

And once again he looked increasingly comfortably as the match went on, showing no signs of physical problems as he rebuilds following back surgery last year.

It was not an auspicious start for the Scot, however, dropping four straight points to lose serve in the opening game, before retrieving the break straight away.

The 40C temperatures had disappeared, much to the relief of most players, but cool weather was not what Murray wanted as he gets his body used to playing best-of-five-set matches again.

The Scot had several chances to move a break ahead in the sixth game but Lopez came up with good serves every time.

Murray looked frustrated as Lopez levelled at 5-5, and his mood was not helped when more big serving helped the Spaniard save two set points and force a tie-break.

But 26th-ranked Lopez was hanging on and he was outplayed in the tie-break, Murray stringing together a succession of good, aggressive points.

He brought up four more set points with a forehand winner and clinched it 7-2 with another forehand that Lopez could not get back.

Landslide

He made the perfect start to the second set with an immediate break of the Lopez serve, the Spaniard seeming to suffer a hangover from losing the opener.

Both men held serve relatively comfortably for the rest of the set, which suited Murray just fine as he took it 6-4, a HawkEye challenge on set point failing to save Lopez.

The third set was a landslide for Murray, who cranked up his serve after clinching an early break to ease through in two hours and 15 minutes.

"It's been a good start. It was very tricky conditions the first couple of matches with the heat but today was beautiful conditions to play in," he said.

"We get to play in front of a full crowd when it's like this so it was a great atmosphere. I don't know why but every time I've come here since I was 18 I've had great support."

Murray will play unheralded Frenchman Stephane Robert for a place in the quarter-finals after the 33-year-old beat Martin Klizan of Slovakia 6-0 7-6 6-4.

Robert, who has spent much of his career on the second tier Challenger Tour, became the first 'lucky loser' to reach the last 16 at Melbourne after losing a qualifier, only to be added to the draw when Philipp Kohlschreiber pulled out through injury.

"I knew at the end of last year, if I wanted to play a lot of Challengers, I had to play good at grand slams because that's where I could pick up some big money," he said.

"I don't know if it changed my motivation, but for sure it's good to have good results in grand slams."