Tennis: Scot far from best but goes through

Andy Murray reacts during his third round match against Joao Sousa at the Australian Open.
Andy Murray reacts during his third round match against Joao Sousa at the Australian Open.PHOTO: EPA

MELBOURNE • Andy Murray moved into the fourth round for the 20th consecutive Grand Slam event but he had to dig deep yesterday to beat Joao Sousa to reach the last 16 of the Australian Open.

The Scot was far from his fluent best but the world No. 2 was clinical in the crucial moments, as he sealed a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory.

He will now face Australia's Bernard Tomic, who beat compatriot John Millman 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, for a place in the quarter-finals.

The British No. 1 played on, apparently unaware that his father-in-law, Nigel Sears, had been taken to hospital after collapsing on Rod Laver Arena. He departed the arena immediately after the match, rather than doing a customary on-court interview.

"I thought I struggled. At the beginning I think he (Sousa) was extremely aggressive, very intense. He was getting into positions to dictate a lot of points with his forehand," the 28-year-old said later.

"Once I started to hit the ball a little bit cleaner towards the end of the match I was able to get him in his backhand corner and dictate more of the points.

"I just tried to keep fighting. At the end I was actually hitting the ball well and felt better. It was good to get through that one."

Milos Raonic dedicated his third-round victory, a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over Viktor Troicki, to victims of a shooting in a remote community in Saskatchewan, Canada, which left four people dead and at least two injured.

He faces a tough fourth-round match against Stanislas Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian and 2015 French Open champion, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Lukas Rosol.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2016, with the headline 'Scot far from best but goes through'. Print Edition | Subscribe