Murray, Wawrinka advance to 4th round at Australian Open
MELBOURNE: Andy Murray showed no signs of trouble with his sore ankle as he advanced to the Round of 16 at the Australian Open for the ninth straight year, avoiding an upset against Sam Querrey.
Five-time runner-up Murray served out for a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win Friday over Querrey, who has had recent form against the No. 1-ranked player in the third round of a major.
It was Querrey who ended Novak Djokovic's impressive Grand Slam run in the third round at Wimbledon last year. At that time, top-ranked Djokovic had won four straight major titles Wimbledon and US Open in 2015 and Australian Open and French Open in 2016.
Murray, who gained the No. 1 ranking for the first time last November, is still in contention in Australia while both Djokovic and Querrey are out.
Murray said he was surprised at six-time champion Djokovic's second-round loss to Denis Istomin, but didn't think it changed anything for him unless he reached the final he has lost four times to Djokovic in his five Australian finals.
"I wasn't scheduled to play Novak today, so my job's to concentrate on Sam and to go into that match with a clear head and a good game plan and try to play well," he said. "I did that.
"Obviously, if you're to get to the final, then it has an effect."
Murray fended off a break point in the decisive eighth game in the first set and then stayed in control of the 1-hour, 59-minute match.
He injured his right ankle in the second round, and said he was hesitant at first.
"I felt better and better as the match went on in terms of my movement," Murray said. "I was moving well at the end it was very positive."
Seven-time major winner Venus Williams routed Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 in less than an hour to progress to the fourth round for the 10th time since her Australian Open debut in 1998.
"It's good (but) it's never enough," she said, looking ahead to her fourth-round match against Mona Barthel, who beat local hope Ashleigh Barty in three sets. "I've tasted it before and it's always a great feeling because it means, hey, I have an opportunity for the quarterfinals. That's what I'm going to go for."
The last two Americans in the men's draw lost within an hour of each other. After Querrey's exit, No. 23-seeded Jack Sock lost 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3 to No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
There are no more Australians in the men's draw, either, after Daniel Evans beat Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) to go beyond the third round for the first time at a major.
US Open champion Stan Wawrinka was twice broken while serving for the match before finishing off a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7) win over Viktor Troicki.
Wawrinka reached the fourth round for the fifth consecutive year and will next play Andreas Seppi, who beat Steve Darcis 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (2).
Murray next plays Mischa Zverev, who had a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Malek Jaziri.
No. 1 Angelique Kerber had a straight-sets win for the first time in her first Australian Open title defense, 6-0, 6-4 against Kristyna Pliskova.
She beat the other Pliskova twin, Karolina, in the final of the last US Open.
Kerber will next play 35th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, who reached the fourth round in Australia for the first time with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over 2014 semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard.
Eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova was broken twice while serving for the match before finally finishing off former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in 3 hours and 36 minutes.
Two-time major champion Kuznetsova will next play No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat No. 11 Elina Svitolina 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Australian Open organizers were briefed by Victoria state police over an incident in downtown Melbourne where a man deliberately drove into a street crowded with pedestrians, killing three people and injuring 20. Police said the incident, which occurred about three kilometers (two miles) from Melbourne Park, had no links to terrorism.
Organizers said the police had contained the incident and an offender had been arrested.
"Be assured there is no threat to the precinct," a statement read.