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Murray, Azarenka and Nadal progress

Weather cools as Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka and Roger Federer progress into 4th round of the Australian Open.

Last updated: 19 Jan 2014 08:48
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Andy Murray shakes hands with Feliciano Lopez after winning their match [Reuters]

An agitated Andy Murray was at his muttering, tormented best before reaching a higher plain to trounce Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-2 and advance to the Australian Open fourth round on Saturday.

The scorching heat that plagued Melbourne Park all week had given way to a pleasantly cool summer's day but the moody Briton fumed and berated himself throughout the opening two sets at Hisense Arena as he struggled with his backhand.

However, on surrendering the second set, 26th seed Lopez's resolve crumbled, allowing the 26-year-old Scot to coast to an encouraging victory in 135 minutes.

Fourth seed Murray, a three-times finalist at Melbourne Park, will next play French lucky loser Stephane Robert for a place in the quarter finals.

Victoria Azarenka remained on course for a third straight Australian Open title with a thumping 6-1 6-0 victory over Yvonne Meusburger in exactly an hour on Saturday.

The second seed reached the fourth round when she broke the Austrian world number 49 for the seventh time with a thundering smash at the net to bring an end to a thoroughly one-sided contest on Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka has not lost a set in her three matches this week and extended her winning streak at Melbourne Park to 17 matches.

The Belarussian will next meet American Sloane Stephens, who she beat in controversial circumstances in the semi-finals last year on her way to her second successive Australian Open title.

Rafa Nadal shrugged off an injury scare to destroy flamboyant Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-1 6-2 6-3 and storm into the Australian Open fourth round on Saturday.

Serving at 1-1 in the second set, the world number one stooped after a forehand from behind the baseline and clutched his right foot before limping off the court at the change of ends.

After jiggling his foot around some more during the break, Nadal returned to the court to humble Monfils in just over two hours, running the 25th seed ragged and feasting on his second serve.

The rangy Frenchman battled hard in the third set to prise breakpoints at 3-3, but Nadal's serve remained unbroken as he set up a clash with Japan's Kei Nishikori for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Played through pain

Meanwhile Grigor Dimitrov upset 11th seed Milos Raonic 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-6(10) in an 156-minute Australian Open thriller on Saturday to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time.

Famous more for being the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, the 22nd ranked 22-year-old Bulgarian has long been identified as a rising talent in men's tennis but previously flattered to deceive on the game's biggest stages.

In the Margaret Court Arena bearpit on Saturday, though, he held his nerve through the tightest of fourth set tiebreaks to seal the victory on his fifth match point when Canadian Raonic netted a forehand.

The man once nicknamed "Baby Fed" for the similarity in his playing style to Roger Federer will next face world number 62 Roberto Bautista for a place in the quarter-finals after the Spaniard beat Benoit Paire 6-2 6-1 6-4.

Four-time champion Roger Federer has advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 13th consecutive year following a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win Saturday over Teymuraz Gabashvili.

The win may be a good omen for the sixth-seeded Federer. The only other time the two have played - in the first round at Wimbledon in 2007, when the Russian also lost in straight sets - Federer went on to win the title.

Federer was back in familiar territory Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.

On Thursday, he won his second-round match at the secondary Hisense Arena, the first time in a decade that Federer was not given prime billing at the 15,000-seat Rod Laver where he had played his previous 63 consecutive Australian Open matches.

Maria Sharapova continued to put on her distinctive ice jacket at end changes despite the considerably cooler temperatures as she beat France's Alize Cornet 6-1 7-6 (8-6).

The Russian endured temperatures of 43 degrees Celsius to reach the third round in the longest match of career and her
passage to the fourth round was mercifully shorter.

On the comeback trail after a shoulder problems cut short her 2013 season, the third seed accepted that she had won
without playing her best tennis.

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga raced into the last 16 of the Australian Open with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2 victory over Gilles Simon on Saturday, bringing an end to his compatriot's remarkable run at Melbourne Park.

While a string of players dropped out early in the first week with niggling injuries in the sweltering conditions, the whippet-thin Simon earned the right to call himself one of the toughest men in tennis.

The 29-year-old badly twisted his right ankle at the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament in the week before the year's
first grand slam began and was hobbling around on crutches last weekend.

 

Results

Andy Murray def. Feliciano Lopez (26) 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2.

Roger Federer def. Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal def. Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-2, 6-3

Grigor Dimitrov def. Milos Raonic (11) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10).

Maria Sharapova def. Alize Cornet 6-1 7-6 (8-6)

Victoria Azarenka def. Yvonne Meusberger 6-1 6-0

816

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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