Murray beats the heat as Kazak opponent quits injured
Jan 23, 2012, 3:30 GMT
Melbourne - Two-time finalist Andy Murray beat the heat with an abbreviated 6-1, 6-1, 1-0 win over Kazah Mikhail Kukushkin as the Scottish fourth seed moved into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
Murray is bidding for his first Grand Slam title after losing the title match at Melbourne Park at the past two editions and also lost to Roger Federer in the US Open final four years ago.
The match lasted only 49 minutes with Kukushkin, coached by his wife, suffering in both the 35 Celsius conditions and with a left hip flexor injury.
Murray's win went markedly more smoothly than his first meeting with the 92nd-ranked Asian player, at the start of the month in a Brisbane opening match.
The earlier success was still a struggle for the Scot, playing for the first time in the new season. 'We had three tough sets then,' said the fourth seed. 'Today it was so hot on court. It was good to get quick win and conserve energy.
'It was tough for him, he was obviously struggling.'
Murray's victory was his ninth in succession, with the Scot lifting title in five of his last eight tournament, including three in three weeks last autumn in Asia.
His losses came to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals at the US Open, fell to Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals at Paris Bercy and withdrew from the World Tour Finals with a groin injury.
Women's second seed Petra Kvitova defeated former number one Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), missing a gimme smash at the net in a move which will certainly make the highlight reels.
The Czech Wimbledon winner dominated the Serb who lost the 2008 Melbourne final and then won the French Open four months later, the highlight of her a patchy career so far.
'It was tough match, definitely. I really struggled with the rhythm in the beginning,' said Ivanovic. I was lacking that in the first set and sort of in the second set.
'It was just really pity that I didn't use opportunities I had.'
Kvitova next plays the winner from China's Zheng Jie or Italy's Sara Errani.