Andy Murray booked himself a place in the last sixteen of the Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory over his spirited Lithuanian opponent after two hours and 12 minutes on Rod Laver arena.
It was a clinical serving display from the Brit, who at times struggled to assert himself against his young counterpart. After a slow start Berankis started to show some of his shot-making prowess, but some clutch play from Murray saw him fight back from a second set blip to seal a hard fought win, aided by 13 aces and numerous unreturnable serves.
The Lithuanian showed signs of intent right from the start, slamming home the first point of the match with an emphatic forehand volley. But Murray’s serve has been on song throughout the tournament and it came to the fore again to avert any early danger, before a series of loose errors from the lower ranked player saw the third seed secure the early break.
Berankis was beginning to loosen up, and after finally getting on the board in the fourth game he launched an assault on the Murray serve. A sizzling backhand winner helped him to two break back points, but some clutch play saw the Brit save both of them and two further break points, before serving his way to a 4-1 lead.Read more (349 words)
More clinical play from the US Open champion saw him open up a 5-1 lead, but the world number 110 blew hot once again and managed to break back as another backhand slice from Murray flew into the net. The Brit eventually sealed the set 6-3 with some clutch serving, having to save two more break points after more unforced errors.
Berankis was looking a lot more confident now and it was he who was playing the more aggressive tennis, looking to take the game to the Brit. Murray was really struggling to assert himself on the rallies and although the serve relieved the danger in the first couple of games, Berankis eventually sealed the break in the sixth game of the set.
But that appeared to be all that was required to kick start Murray into action, breaking straight back with an exquisite lob before levelling the set with his ninth ace of the match.
Now it was Berankis that was playing the more erratic tennis and the Scot took full advantage, breaking the Lithuanian for the second time in succession on his fourth break point. And a resurgent Murray made it four games in a row to open up a two set lead.
The Olympic champion was beginning to relax, and he broke again in the third game after successive winners off both wings. But Berankis wasn’t about go away without a fight, and Murray had to fend off another break point at 3-2 before the serve once again came to the rescue.
Just when it seemed the match was done and dusted, Berankis managed to break back. An emphatic return winner put him 0-30 up and a couple of loose errors from the third seed allowed Berankis to level the set. But Murray’s response was immediate, quickly regaining the lead and this time there was no mistake, sealing his place in the last 16 with another big serve that the Lithuanian could only parry into the net.
In the fourth round Murray will face the 14th seed Gilles Simon, who saw off his French counterpart Gael Monfils 8-6 in the fifth set after nearly five hours on court.