Andy Murray beats Gilles Simon to reach Australian Open quarters

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
Best to come from Murray in Australia

Andy Murray barely broke sweat as he reached the last eight at the Australian Open with victory over an exhausted Gilles Simon.

In a low-key afternoon encounter on Hisense Arena, the Briton won 6-3 6-1 6-3 in one hour and 32 minutes.

Murray, 25, is through to the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the fourth year in a row, and will play another Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy, on Wednesday.

He has yet to drop a set in four matches and enters the final stages as fresh as he could possibly hope for.

Up against a player who could barely walk after his near five-hour win in the last round, and with a 9-1 record in their previous meetings, Monday's match never threatened to extend the Scot.

"It was a tough situation for both players - more obviously for him," said Murray. "After the first few games, it didn't feel that competitive. At this stage of a Grand Slam, you're sort of geed up and prepared for a tough battle.

"That's why it becomes hard, because the emotions aren't quite into it. You're not quite necessarily feeling pressure, but you're wanting to try to finish the match as quickly as possible.

"It was quite a tough situation for both of us."

Simon, 28, said he had "completely lost control" during the gruelling four hours and 43 minutes required to see off Gael Monfils in round three, and gave himself little chance of challenging Murray.

The US Open champion did his best to help him out early on.

After breaking serve immediately, Murray handed it straight back to love with a poor service game that saw him misjudge a Simon drop shot and then fire a backhand wide and a forehand into the net.

Murray was hardly bristling with intent, and the Hisense Arena crowd - in marked contrast to the previous night's crackling atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena - was sleepy.

Simon simply did not have the legs to test Murray, who sensibly had him on the move from the word go. The Frenchman sent a forehand wide to make it three breaks in a row, and that was pretty much that.

Murray wrapped up the first set after 37 minutes that had seen the pair hit 31 unforced errors between them, and just 11 winners.

Simon was visibly struggling by now, barely moving for one thumping Murray forehand, but the third seed again handed back an early break thanks in part to a wayward overhead.

It did not signal a fightback - Murray rattled off the next four games to move two sets clear as Simon slowed by the game.

A retirement looked on the cards when Simon had to stop and stretch at one point in the closing games, before swatting a seemingly unmissable forehand into the tramlines.

However, the Frenchman at least made it to the end.

Murray put Simon out of his misery on his second match point to wrap up a win that will not live long in the memory, but will serve the Briton better than the type of marathon match seen already this week.

"It was just difficult for me today," said Simon. "I knew it before, but I think I did all I could for the last two days to be able to play this one.

"It was a painful hour and a half on the court. But, you know, Andy is a very good player anyway so it's always very hard to beat him. Without being 100% you have almost no chance to do it.

"I just wanted to do my best at any moment. But it was getting worse and worse on the court. It was a really difficult day."


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