Sunday, January 22, 2012

Murray breezes into last 16

Updated January 21, 2012 22:45:56

British fourth seed Andy Murray overcame Frenchman Michael Llodra with ease to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open.

The two-time finalist defeated the 46th-ranked Llodra 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in under two hours and will play Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the round of 16 on Monday.

Murray and Llodra produced crowd-pleasing rallies with some amazing angled net pick-ups for winning points.

The Scot, who has lost to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the past two Melbourne finals, was always in control of the loose Frenchman, breaking his serve six times.

Murray hit an impressive 48 winners with the backhand his predominant scorer with 19 winners.

"There were a lot of fun rallies, especially towards the end of the second set, beginning of the third set and he played well," Murray said.

"Every point seemed to be a fun point. He was coming up with some unbelievable gets on the volleys and I was managing to dig up a lot at the net. It was a fun tennis match which isn't normal at the grand slams.

"(Coach) Ivan Lendl would have preferred a few more bread and butter points, serve and forehand finish, but that was my style of tennis tonight and I hope everyone enjoyed it."

World number 92 Mikhail Kukushkin wrote his name in Kazakh history with the country's best ever male performance at a grand slam Saturday, thanks to a bizarre victory over injury-hit Gael Monfils.

Kukushkin capitalised on a back problem which drastically restricted the athletic Monfils to take a two-set lead, but then was unable to press his advantage.

The resulting exchange was watched in puzzlement as restricted Monfils could only parry Kukushkin's shots at half-pace, but the bemused Kazakh was continually unable to find winners.

The match, on raucous Margaret Court Arena, meandered for 3 hours and 40 minutes before Kukushin finally gained the crucial break to win 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 1-6, 6-4.

Monfils admitted he was "lucky" to force the fifth set, and was playing purely on adrenaline brought on by the crowd.

"This one was tough because I had a sore back. But it was really cool. For sure the crowd helped me," he said.

"That's why I chose to keep going, because I could easily have given up. But it was a nice atmosphere. I just tried to have luck in the match and fight, so it was cool."

Kukushkin finished with a whopping total of 72 unforced errors and just nine break points converted out of 26 chances.


Tags: tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, vic, australia

First posted January 21, 2012 22:37:46

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