Murray battles past feisty Berankis

By for 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.
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

Andy did what he had to do to get the win. Hopefully he'll pick up his performance in the 2nd week. You can't win a slam in the first week, only lose it as they say.

Simon and Monfils is beating each other into the ground right now so hopefully Andy can have an easier passage into the QF.
January 19, 2013, 12:38 PM
By syc23

Andy did what he has needed to do all week, i.e. win as quickly and efficiently as possible. In my book, as he won in straights in just over two hours, he has got the job done so far.

It's good that Berankis pushed a bit. Andy essentially cruised through his first couple of rounds and so this will sharpen him up nicely ahead of next week.

I think we need to get some perspective too. Andy did not look like losing this match, ever, at any point. He responded to threats appropriately. He got the job done in three sets too, which will save him valuable energy for when the fun really starts next week.

Andy's second serve was the thing the comms kept on about during the match, but his first serve helped no end. Either way, he won. That's all that matters. We can worry about the quarters or the semi's etc, when Andy gets there. When, not if.
January 19, 2013, 03:02 PM
By teejay1

Thanks for the report! Andy said himself that his timing was out in practice and it was out during the match. Can't be spot on every time, but I'm sure that has past now and he will be back to his usual brilliance!
January 19, 2013, 04:00 PM
By ChrisMac

Thanks for the report Luke.  I've not watched the whole match but as Greg R observed, if a player can win in straight sets when they're not feeling the ball then that's pretty good really.  All those pointing out that Andy needs to improve if he's to go deeper are really only saying what Andy himself said in his press conference. 
Has anyone worked out yet what Andy was saying when he did his pointy thing at the end?
While of course we must never get ahead of ourselves, it must help that Simon looked like an injured zombie by the end of that 5 hours and that delpo is out though of course we all know not to underestimate Chardy now.
January 19, 2013, 04:24 PM
By Ruthie

Does anybody know if Bev got tickets to the match?
January 19, 2013, 05:25 PM
By lashurst

Just watching the match now who are these comms they are talking so much rubbish. Why would Judy want or have time to manage a pub and restaurant.  And Andy always gets easy draws in slams????
January 19, 2013, 05:56 PM
By Tessie

When I watched during the night I was watching Eurosport and they said the same thing that for the past few slams Andy has had favourable draws!!!  Are they having a laugh or are they just not very good at punditry!!

Anyway thought Andy did what he had to do and got through in straight sets. Read an  article online (Evening Standard) in which Andy said he had a stiff shoulder which was bothering him in practice and during the first set but loosened off after that.  Would not want Andy demolishing all put in front of him during the early rounds as it ramps us expectation, let's leave the demolition job for the QF, SF and F hopefully!!! 
January 19, 2013, 06:13 PM
By Murray Magic

tessie i watched it live & it was painful to listen too Frown them 2 boring buffoons should have been put out to pasture long ago. give me petchey or even castle & henman anyday at least they all know andy well & know what they are talking about.
January 19, 2013, 06:14 PM
By angiebabez

The combs on Eurosport this morning were Simon Reed and Frew McMillan - enough said!!
January 19, 2013, 06:16 PM
By Murray Magic

"combs". Should read comms!! 
January 19, 2013, 06:17 PM
By Murray Magic

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