- Australian Open, Day Eight
Murray crushes weary Simon
Andy Murray cruised into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over a below-par Gilles Simon.
Simon was clearly fatigued from the off, with his four-hour, 43-minute epic against Gael Monfils having a negative impact on his performance.
Murray was short of his best, it appeared he was dragged down by the struggles of his opponent, but he was so superior he was still able to record a 6-3 6-1 6-3 win.
If Simon was up against it in terms of fitness, his head-to-head record would have done little to improve his mental state as Murray had won their previous nine meetings and from the opening game it was obvious the Frenchman was not going to snap that losing run.
From the first point, Murray pulled Simon into long rallies and he broke in the first game. Simon is not renowned for his volleying, but in an attempt to shorten points he charged the net and worked a break back when Murray slapped a forehand into the net.
Murray broke in the third and back-to-back love holds handed him a cushion despite some inconsistent play from the baseline. But for all Murray was inconsistent, Simon was poor and he coughed up 17 unforced errors in the first set.
The second set was one-way traffic, aside from Murray gifting his opponent a break, as Simon failed to hold any of his three service games.
Simon held serve at the start of the third, but he continued to find it tough to track down balls sent out wide by Murray and the inevitable break came in the third game.
The Frenchman did not wave the white flag, but the resistance was pretty limited. He held serve in the fifth game, but began to cramp up during that service game and he immediately called the trainer.
With Simon the walking wounded, the intensity went out of the match. Murray began to tee off at every Simon serve, knowing full well he would be able to hold his own with ease. As a result, the error count mounted and Simon was able to get games on the board - but Murray put him out of his misery when breaking in the 10th game to wrap up the match.
Murray will face another French test in the quarter-finals, as Jeremy Chardy overcame Andreas Seppi 5-7 6-3 6-2 6-2.