World number one Andy Murray cruised into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, win over big-serving American Sam Querrey. Murray will face unseeded Mischa Zverev in the fourth round, who upset John Isner earlier in the week.
Murray's outstanding defense in the first set made the difference as Querrey's huge hitting and bullying serves tested the Brit at points. After getting the late break and securing the first set, Murray took complete control in the second. The world number one dominated from then on and secured his place in the fourth round for the ninth year in a row.
Defensive masterclass from Murray
The big-serving American came through a love hold in only one minute to begin the match. Querrey's huge groundstrokes gave him a look in on return but the Brit came through the hold of serve with an ace. Murray got his first points on return in the next game with a couple of errors from Querrey, but huge serves got the American through another easy service game.
Querrey's only return point in the following game came with a double fault from Murray, the Brit easily recovered to seal the game with a forehand winner. Outstanding serving from Querrey seen him sail to another clinical service game to lead 3-2. Murray's excellent defense soaked up the huge hitting from Querrey as he leveled the pair up with a good hold. The Brit then made the most of a couple of second serves from the American, pushing through to 30-30 on the return. Querrey fought through the game to edge back in front.
Bullying groundstrokes finished off with a great volley winner took Querrey into the lead on the return in the next game but Murray brought some big serves and impressive net play of his own to move ahead at 30-15. The American fired a scorching forehand winner to level the pair and an error from Murray gave Querrey the first break point of the match. A good second serve and an error from Querrey erased the danger and a great serve from the Brit gave him game point.
An incredible half-volley pickup from Murray took him into the lead on return in the following game. Querrey dictated his way ahead to 30-15 but the Brit fired a forehand winner to level them. A game point for the American was lost as Murray threaded a passing shot to bring them to deuce. The Brit's first break point was erased with a backhand unforced error but another passing shot brought up a second. The American fought it off and earned himself a game point but the world number one continued battling, outrageous defense soaking up the huge hitting of his opponent and allowing him a third look at a break point. A signature lob from Murray sealed the break that allowed him to serve for the opening set. The Brit held on to his lead, coming through the hold with no trouble to seal the opening set 6-4.
World number one in control
Querrey got back on track at the start of the second set with a quick love hold. The American then took a lead on return but Murray quickly leveled them as he crunched a crosscourt backhand winner, coming through the hold without trouble. A nightmare service game followed for Querrey, four unforced errors in a row handing the Brit the early break and a 2-1 lead.
Murray continued to cruise on serve, extending his lead with an easy hold with the help of big serves and aggressive groundstrokes. The Brit took another 0-30 lead on the return as he easily read Querrey's serves but a string of errors gave Querrey a game point. Murray forced his way to deuce, dropping the ball right at Querrey's feet as he camped at the net, but the American came out with the hold to stay a game away.
A quick hold for Murray put the pressure back on Querrey, and again the Brit took a 0-30 lead on the return. The Brit upped the aggression and took advantage of Querrey's lack of first serves in, taking the second break point of the game to serve for a two-set lead. Murray remained untroubled on serve, sealing the set 6-2 with another simple service game.
Battling to the finish
The world number one kept his momentum going into the start of the third set, breaking immediately with a bit of help from the net and coming through another good hold of serve to extend his run of games to five in a row. Better serving from Querrey helped him through his first hold of the set, with Murray in the lead at 2-1 at the first change of ends.
The American earned himself a 0-30 lead on return as he looked to make his way back into the match. An unforced error from Querrey and a brutal backhand crosscourt winner from the Brit leveled them. A break point opportunity was erased with a brilliantly angled forehand winner from Murray but an error from the Brit gave his opponent another break point. The Brit sent a backhand wide to hand Querrey the break back.
Querrey's massive first serves seen him through another good hold and his third game in a row. The American continued throwing everything he had at Murray on the return but the Brit fought through the tight deuce game on serve to level the third set 3-3. A stunning forehand down the line passing shot from outside of the tramlines got Murray into the return game but Querrey raced away to 40-15 with some good serving. A lob winner from Murray and an error from the American left the pair at deuce, but more excellent serving brought Querrey through the hold.
There was another test on return for Murray as Querrey fought from 40-15 down to deuce. A forehand winner and an ace brought the Brit out of the game. The world number one pulled out another defensive masterclass on return as he scrambled for the ball, eventually drawing an error from Querrey to secure the break that allowed him to serve for the match. The world number one served out the match, taking the set 6-4 to secure his place in the last sixteen.