World No. 4 Andy Murray advanced to the third round of the Australian Open with a dominant straight sets victory over France’s Vincent Millot to set up an entertaining clash against world No. 27, Feliciano Lopez. Of their previous seven meetings on the tour, Murray holds a perfect 7-0 lead in their head-to-head series and will be looking to extend the streak with a win in Melbourne on Saturday.
After starting the match with two rapid sets, Murray found himself trailing 1-5 in the third set before he produced a remarkable display of tennis to win the all the remaining points to win the match 7-5. The Scot managed 23 consecutive points at the end of the match, the best in his career at the stage of a tournament.
“I would say that’s probably the most [consecutive points] I’d ever won in my career by far,” said Murray. “I mean, it’s very difficult to do. I don’t really know how I did it. I guess it’s normal he got a little bit nervous, which helped. He started missing a few balls and I adjusted my tactics a little bit. Then that obviously made a difference as well. So it’s a good way to finish.”
The former three-time finalist is coming off a back surgery layoff that has kept him sidelined since a little after the conclusion of the US Open event last year. The Brit only returned to professional competition this month in Doha, where he lost in the second round to Florian Mayer before arriving in Melbourne. His first two wins at the season-opening Grand Slam could possibly breath new like and confidence into the modest Murray, who was candid about his lack of expectations at this particular event. A win over his third round opponent would certainly add to his growing momentum.
Spain’s Feliciano Lopez hit 43 winners and broke serve four times in his 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-4 win over Michael Berrer, setting up the eighth clash between himself and British No. 1 Andy Murray. The 26-year-old is aware of Lopez’s net game and considers him a good test at this stage of the event.
“He’s got a great serve,” said Murray. “He obviously comes to the net a bit. Different game style to all of the guys nowadays pretty much. So that will, again, be another good test for me and naturally get tougher.”
Murray holds a dominant 7-0 Head-to-Head record against the Spaniard, heading into his third-round match. He has only ever lost two sets against the Spaniard and will be looking for another straight sets victory tomorrow evening. If the Brit suffers another third set blunder, as he did against Millot, he may find himself forced to play a fourth set, but should still manage a handy victory over Lopez.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Four Sets