sport

Simon fit to face Murray

Gilles Simon will put his body on the line to face Andy Murray at the Australian Open but admits he "doesn't have a lot of chance".

Simon was involved in a draining five-set tussle with French compatriot Gael Monfils yesterday which lasted four hours and 43 minutes and finished beyond midnight.

Fourteenth seed Simon was treated throughout for cramps in his legs and right forearm and spent nearly four hours with medics afterwards.

His physical condition prompted speculation he may have to pull out and hand Murray a walkover into the quarter-finals but the 28-year-old insisted today he would attempt to play through the pain barrier.

Not that he gives himself any chance of victory.

"I will do my best to be ready for the match," he said.

"But the thing is, it's not easy to win 6-2 6-3 6-2 against Andy.

"I'm not sure if we play longer than that that I will be able to make it to the end."

Murray has dominated French players over the last four years - winning 38 of 39 meetings. He has won nine of 10 overall against Simon.

"I don't have to explain how strong Andy is," said Simon.

"Of course it will be really, really difficult. I will just try to take my chance even if I don't have a lot of chance to win this one.

"But it is my job to go on the court and do the maximum to try to bother him and give him a hard time."

Simon was hoping for a late start and got his wish with the match scheduled not before 5pm local time on Hisense Arena.

"You can't put someone on in the night session and then first match two days after," he said.

Murray, meanwhile, will spend today on the practice court in an attempt to iron out the imperfections in his game.

Having started the tournament in such eye-catching form, Murray stuttered through yesterday's third-round defeat of Ricardas Berankis, turning in a performance below the standards which catapulted him to Olympic and US Open glory in 2012.

Credit should go to Berankis, who proved his world ranking of 110 is skewed due to a groin injury which has disrupted a promising career, but Murray accepted he had things to work on.

"I'm aware I'll need to improve," he said.

"Normally you find your timing by practising a lot and then getting used to the conditions and the tournament you're playing.

"All of the courts at the slams play differently normally. Very rarely do you get two courts that play exactly the same."

Murray took on Berankis on Rod Laver Arena having played his match against Joao Sousa on Thursday on Hisense.

"Sometimes when you switch courts it can throw the rhythm off a little bit," he added.

"But we hit enough balls and practise enough that that shouldn't be a huge issue to get used to the court again."

Murray will feel confident heading into the clash with a clearly-fatigued Simon and will also have been boosted by the departure of scheduled quarter-final opponent Juan Martin Del Potro, who lost yesterday to Jeremy Chardy.