Murray cruises into quarter-finals
Originally published on: 23/01/12 05:53
Andy Murray wrapped up victory over Mikhail Kukushkin in just 49 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, captitalising on a left hip-flexor injury to his opponent, who had already come through two tough five setters in Melbourne.
“It wasn’t until I went up 3-0 I realised he (Kukushkin) wasn’t really moving,” said the world No.4.
“I thought it was best he retired because it was pointless. You know, he wasn’t running, the people probably weren’t enjoying the match that much. I certainly wasn’t because nothing was happening, you know, there was no real good points or anything because he could not move properly.”
Last year’s beaten finalist will no doubt be glad of the energy saved as he continued the trend of spending less time on court with each passing game.
“You just need to make sure, you know, today and tomorrow you hit enough balls to make sure you don’t lose any rhythm because there was no rallies out there,” said Murray, who was hoping to practise on Rod Laver because the conditions, especially in 36 degree plus temperatures, are unique with the ball moving so fast.
“I need to make sure I move around a little bit so I don’t stiffen up in any way. But just, you know, you can’t look at it as a negative. At this stage of the tournament to be off the court in 45 minutes or so isn’t bad.”
Next up for Murray is a final eight showdown with Japanese surprise package Kei Nishikori. The 22-year old upset Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to become the first Japanese player in 80 years to reach this stage of the Australian Open.
“Kei is playing really, really well,” said Murray, who will compete in his third consecutive quarter-finals in Melbourne.
“I practised with him a few times. You know, he is very deceptive. For somebody that’s not the tallest guy, he creates a lot of power from the back of the court.
“He deals with pace well, he can slice, he moves well. He was dictating all the points from the back of the court, which is difficult against someone like Tsonga.
“Every time I saw him in Brisbane the last few weeks, I’ve seen him in the gym a lot. I think he’s gotten in better shape, as well.”