Murray ready for Chardy test
Andy Murray expects his hardest task yet at this year's Australian Open when he takes on Jeremy Chardy in Wednesday's quarter-final.
The Frenchman is hardly a household name - this will be his first grand slam quarter-final - but Murray knows him well as the pair came through the junior ranks at the same time.
And after beating Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals, Murray made a point of reminding the assembled journalists that the last time he faced Chardy, he lost.
That defeat came last year in Cincinnati, though perhaps not too much should be read into it as it came just a week after an emotionally exhausted Murray won Olympic gold.
Murray should win, and win comfortably, but there are two reasons for slight concern for British fans.
Firstly, Chardy is in sensational form, and dispatched Juan Martin del Potro - the man Murray had expected to face in the quarters - in the third round, the biggest win of his career.
Secondly, Murray is not playing his best tennis and has not been given a serious work-out in his four matches so far - four straight-set victories.
He was particularly unhappy with his performance in the third round against Ricardas Berankis but Murray usually only hits the heights when he is either in real trouble, or facing the big boys.
Clash of styles
Wednesday's meeting will be the sixth time Murray has played Chardy, the world No 36, on the senior tour, and bar last year's defeat in Cincinnati he has won the lot.
There will be an interesting clash of styles, with Murray's patient, probing approach in complete contrast to the aggression of Chardy.
Murray said: "He likes to come forward. He can be erratic, but when his game is on like it's been the last few rounds, he's a very tough player to play because he doesn't give you too much rhythm. And, yeah, he really goes for it."
Chardy has a big serve, and a clubbing forehand but he has one big weakness - his backhand. Rather like Greg Rusedski, his drive backhand is poor, and he relies massively on a slice.
Murray is likely to target that flank, pin Chardy in the left hand corner, then pick up moment to switch to the Frenchman's right. Chardy will probably have to go for broke and try to keep the points short.
"I think I have nothing to lose," Chardy said. "It's always easier when you have to play with nothing to lose. I can go for it and enjoy my tennis, enjoy the quarter, but stay focused because I think I have a chance to win. So I have to believe it."
Howver, he is not reading too much into his Cincinnati win, adding: "It's more difficult because it's tough to win three sets in a row against big player. They have a chance to come back all the time, to change the game."
Murray will start a huge favourite to advance to the semi-finals, where either Roger Federer or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga await.