Andy Murray recovers to knock out No2 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili at Sydney Classic

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  • Andy Murray
    Andy Murray
    British professional tennis player from Scotland
  • Nikoloz Basilashvili
    Nikoloz Basilashvili
    Georgian tennis player
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Andy Murray showed the fight of old to knock out No2 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili and book his place in the quarter-finals of the Sydney Classic.

In a contest which hung tantalisingly in the balance for more than three hours, Murray finally found his rhythm with his stuttering serve to round off the match past midnight 6-7 7-6 3.

“I’d rather make it a bit easier on myself,” said Murray after the marathon win. “It was an unbelievably tough match. He hits the ball bigger than anyone on tour. I was having to do a lot of defending and running. Sometimes I’d hit good serves and he was hitting huge shots. But I served really well in the last set. “

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Murray might well have won in straight sets had he taken his chances, though. He had the opportunity to break his Georgian opponent to win the opening set, which he could not convert.

And his failure to capitalise on the opportunity – in all he converted just three of 12 break points on the night - proved costly as Basilashvili won the tiebreak.

It was a near repeat in the subsequent set in only Murray’s third warm-up match before the start of the Australian Open for which he has been awarded a wildcard having been a five-time beaten finalist at the first Grand Slam of the year.

But, serving out the set, he was broken though held his nerve to dominate the second tiebreak and force a decider.

Murray’s ability to move into the ascendancy was partly down to some lacklustre serving and the punishing groundstrokes of his opponent, who hit 63 winners.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Come the third set, the Murray serve finally clicked as he landed all but seven first serves – most in his final service game. It helped the former world No1 race into a 3-0 lead.

He came within a whisker of 4-0 and a double break only for an undeterred Basilashvili to hold serve and nearly break back for 3-2.

But Murray kept his cool as he did when serving for the match at 5-3 with a break point against him.

He now faces David Goffin in the last eight, a player he has not lost to in eight encounters.

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