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Andy Murray's Australian Open challenge is hotting up


Straight sets: Andy Murray after beating Joao Sousa

Straight sets: Andy Murray after beating Joao Sousa

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Straight sets: Andy Murray after beating Joao Sousa

A change of venue failed to halt Andy Murray's serene progress at the Australian Open before a major obstacle to the title was amazingly removed from his path.

Murray had played his first two matches on Margaret Court Arena and won both in straight sets to set up a third-round clash with Portugal's Joao Sousa in Melbourne.

The sixth seed was required to switch to Hisense Arena but found the new surroundings equally to his liking, claiming a 6-1 6-1 7-5 win in just over two hours.

And within minutes of that match finishing, 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer suffered a shock exit at the hands of Italy's Andreas Seppi, who could now face Murray or Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.

Seppi, who had won just one set from Federer in losing all 10 of their previous meetings, will face Australia's Nick Kyrgios, the world number 53, in the fourth round.

"I just saw it, the match point, when I went out to cool down," said Murray, who lost to Federer in the quarter-finals 12 months ago. "It's obviously surprising, but upsets happen in sport daily.

"It's just something that maybe because of the consistency of some of the guys in tennis, people make a huge thing of it. But in sport in general it happens all the time, and pretty much on a daily basis."

Murray knows that from bitter experience of his next opponent Dimitrov, who ended the Scot's reign as Wimbledon champion in the quarter-finals last year.

"It will be a tough match," added Murray, who will be in action tomorrow. "He's played well in the slams the last year or so.

"He's a talented player. He's one of the young guys trying to make a breakthrough, so he'll be motivated.

"Hopefully I can play a good match and make it tough for him."

Belfast Telegraph