Australian Open: Andy Murray defeats Ricardas Berankis to stay on course
Last Updated: January 19, 2013 2:46pm
Andy Murray: will face Gilles Simon in fourth round
Andy Murray overcame lively Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 7-5 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open for a fifth successive year.
The third seed just about kept his cool to remain on course for back-to-back Grand Slam triumphs, completing victory in two hours and 12 minutes.
Next up will be a clash Gilles Simon - who survived a superb fightback from Gael Monfils to win 8-6 in the fifth - and the Scot will need to turn in an improved display as the tournament gets closer to the business end.
Against Berankis he simply did enough to progress; there will be concerns over the number of break-point chances he had to face, with his opponent only able to convert three out of the 12 that came his way.
However, Murray is still yet to drop a set Down Under this year and with Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic both surprisingly beaten on Saturday, his section of the draw is opening up nicely.
Murray had the odd issue on his own serve, including failing to see out the match at the first attempt. He also missed the opportunity to take the first set in the seventh game, eventually managing it in the ninth but only after saving two break points.
Berankis - who had gifted away his first service game with four unforced forehand errors - continued to rise to the challenge in the second set, edging 4-2 ahead with a break.
However Murray's response was emphatic, an expertly-judged lob getting him back on serve. It was the start of four successive games for the Scot, though he had to come back from 0-30 down to move into a two-set lead.
The third looked like being a procession when he moved 2-1 up - only for him to then have to withstand a minor scare from a player he often uses as a hitting partner in practice.
Having wasted a break-point chance in the fifth game, Berankis kept himself alive in the 10th thanks to Murray dumping a rather weak forehand straight into the net.
Yet the man from Vilnius crumbled when it came to his turn to serve again, losing to love. Murray then made sure he completed the job at the second time of asking, sending him through to the last 16.