Murray battles past feisty Berankis

By for MurraysWorld.com on
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.

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.
add comment | 41 comments
Well written report. Good to see that Andy won in straight sets, despite not hitting the ball cleanly, always a match like this somewhere in the tournament, so that's behind him. See that Del Po and Cilic both out, that opens the draw. Hope those people who gave Andy a hard time when Andy lost to Chardy last year have taken note, that when he is on song he is a difficult man to beat.
January 19, 2013, 07:59 AM
By michelle

When I saw the headline, I thought it was a four setter or five setter.....but am quite happy with the score line. Smile
January 19, 2013, 08:06 AM
By Sabine

Thanks for such a quick and very good report Luke.  I was a bit disappointed with Andy's overall performance, apart from his serve, especially after the Haase and Sousa matches, but Berankis on the whole impressed.  If he can stay injury free now I think he could be a player to watch out for.  Still, a win is a win, and Andy showed himself to be the champion he is by digging himself out of trouble.  Also his third consecutive 3-setter will be conserving valuable energy.
January 19, 2013, 08:11 AM
By Aileen

Average performance saved by some clutch serving. Murray is going to have to raise his level significantly if he's going to make an impact next week.
January 19, 2013, 08:44 AM
By boogers

andy rarely had to go to the limits and subconsciously he knew that. an ugly win is still a win.
January 19, 2013, 09:43 AM
By counter_ puncher

I hope this match will wake Andy up and spur him on to better form for the second week. Again it was his serve that faltered and almost allowed Berankis to win the second set. Andy was lucky to come through in 3.
January 19, 2013, 09:51 AM
By benniebone

Good report Luke. And as It has been said a win is still a win - ugly or not.
January 19, 2013, 10:07 AM
By OldScotSupport

I hope this match will wake Andy up and spur him on to better form for the second week. Again it was his serve that faltered and almost allowed Berankis to win the second set. Andy was lucky to come through in 3.
I beg your pardon it was his serve that saved him, as all the commentators pointed out. Andy himself said his timing was out and when he practised yesterday it was out as well.
January 19, 2013, 10:28 AM
By michelle

I like the report, so thanks for that!

Average performance saved by some clutch serving. Murray is going to have to raise his level significantly if he's going to make an impact next week.
I agree he was average at times and he wont win the SF should he play that way. He should beat Simon as H2Hs favour Andy, statistically.Smile

There again Andy was well aware of where he needs to improve, as he clearly stated in the Courier interview, admitted poor timing etc. However, 3 straight is 3 straight, nobody can deny!

Murray is always very asked probing questions (some impertinent) about his fitness, game performance, coach and team, but I dont hear other players getting questioned to the same detailed degree. He always answers honestly and openly, far more that I would expect him to. Anyone agree or, am I too defensive on Andys part?


January 19, 2013, 11:03 AM
By lashurst

Cheers for the report. clap Only saw last set.
A win is a win yay and done and dusted in 3 is a bonus. Am wondering if Andy is suffering from too many heat-of-the-day matches Think
January 19, 2013, 12:00 PM
By blueberryhill

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