Andy Murray secured his place in the fourth round in an easy match with Sam Querrey
He beat Sam Querrey, the 6ft 6ins, 15st serving machine from America 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Then again, he usually does – he has now done it seven times in eight meetings.
With a seemingly laser-guided service return, Murray nullified Querrey’s biggest weapon and then proceeded to run him into the ground.
“I’ve played a little bit better each match,” Murray said. “There’s not been one thing I’ve been delighted with. I moved much better than I did in the first two matches, which is really positive for me.
“Each match I’ve improved a little bit. That’s a good sign. Hopefully I keep getting better.”
Andy Murray won in straight sets against Sam Querrey
Although Murray had tweaked his ankle in his previous match, there was no sign of lingering after effects. And by the end he was sprinting around the court like an Australian tiger beetle (they may be small, but they are one of the fastest creatures on the planet).
“After the first few games where I was maybe slightly hesitant, I moved really well towards the end of the first set, and second and third set,” he said. “So that was really good.”
On Sunday he faces a familiar foe in the shape of 29-year-old Mischa Zverev, the world No.50 from Germany and a man he has known since their junior days together. Zverev’s CV may not be as impressive as Murray’s, but the two men share a similar background.
Both have tennis-playing brothers – Zverev’s younger brother by 10 years is Alexander, the world No24 – and both were introduced to the sport by their parents. It was Judy Murray who taught Andy and Jamie to play while Mischa and Alexander are coached by their father, Alexander Snr. Their mother Irena is also a tennis coach.
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“I’ve known the family since I was 12, 13 years old,” Murray said. “Alex was always there on the side of the court. He was tiny back then, but he was always there at the side of the court hitting. Both the parents were there. It’s good to see.
“Obviously everyone’s relationship is different but with me anyway, with Jamie, because we’re close in age, we used to do everything together, and compete against each other all of the time – that’s how it helped me.
“And I’m sure Mischa and Alex didn’t practise together loads when they were growing, because of their age, but now how great is it to have a top-20 player in the world to practise with all the time, and talk to you about tennis, to help, to bounce ideas off each other? I’m sure Mischa can help Alex a lot too.”
Meanwhile, the real Roger Federer finally turned up in Melbourne. After six months off with a knee injury, the Swiss looked well below par in his first two rounds. But against Tomas Berdych, he played like a 17-time Grand Slam champion as he glided to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over the world No10.