The shocking defeat of defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in Melbourne has sent shockwaves throughout the tennis world. World number one Andy Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, will be looking to take advantage of Djokovic's defeat to an inspired Denis Istomin in five sets, and attempt to win his fourth Grand Slam singles title.
Murray lost to Djokovic in the final of the Qatar Open in Doha, and he has hardly been troubled in his path to the third round. The top seed will need to remain calm and consistent, in order to reach the final.
31st seed Sam Querrey will provide a tough test for Murray. The American upset Djokovic in the third round of Wimbledon last year, en route to reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Furthermore, Murray rolled his ankle in his second round match with Andrey Rublev, nonetheless, he was fine to carry on.
How they got here
The world number one defeated tricky Ukranian, Ilya Marchenko, who reached the fourth round at the US Open last year, and it was a good test for Murray, who came through in straight sets, 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2. In the following round, the Brit dropped only five games in his victory over Russian qualifier, Andrey Rublev, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2, although he rolled his ankle, which he said afterwards that his ankle is sore.
Big-serving American, Querrey had to comeback from a set down to defeat French wildcard Quentin Halys. The 31st seeded American defeated Halys, 6-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4. He had an easier time in the second round, against another qualifier, Alex De Minaur and he defeated him, 7-6, 6-0, 6-1.
Murray and Querrey have met on seven occasions, and the world number one leads 6-1 in their head-to-head meetings. The Brit won their first four consecutive encounters, starting with their round of 16 encounters on the grass courts of Newport in 2006. Murray went on to win their next two consecutive meetings at the second round stage of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, and BNP Paribas Masters in Paris in straight sets in 2008.
The reigning Wimbledon champion defeated Querrey in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in the fourth round on the hallowed turfs of Wimbledon in 2010. However, Querrey defeated the Brit for the first time in five encounters in the final of Los Angeles in 2010, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-3. Murray won their next two meetings in the Western and Southern Open in 2012, 6-2, 6-4, and their last encounter was in the Davis Cup tie between Great Britain and the USA on the clay courts in San Diego in four sets.
The three-time Grand Slam champion will not be taking Querrey lightly, and he knows the threat, that Querrey possesses at the other side of the net. The top seed's ankle was sore after his second round victory over Rublev, nevertheless, the Brit should be fine to beat Querrey. Murray will need to serve well in this match, and his speed around the court to retrieve the American's booming forehands will help him. Also, the world number one can play a drop shot, to get the 31st seed to the net, and a lob whilst Querrey's placed at the net.
The big-serving American will need to use his serve effectively, and his forehand will need to be firing on all cylinders to give Murray a tough time. Whilst Murray may be the favorite for the title, a potential quarterfinal clash with Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori or Tomas Berdych could occur, and in the semifinals with 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, could end his title chances.
This will be the second match scheduled in the Hisense Arena, following the conclusion of the women's match between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic. The winner of this match will play Mischa Zverev or Malek Jaziri, which will be a winnable fourth round tie.
Prediction: Murray in four sets