Andy Murray fights for the third round in Sydney

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Andy Murray continued his preparations for his return to the Australian Open with a fierce victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round of the Sydney Tennis Classic.

It was a much more rigorous examination than his first round victory over world number 345 Viktor Durasovic on Tuesday, the three-time Grand Slam winner advancing to 6-7 (4) 7-6 (3) 6-3 after more than three hours. on search.

The game didn’t seem to last that long when Murray led 4-1 after half an hour.

He was leading 5-2 and served for the first set, but some neglect set in and Basilashvili struggled to take the 6-5 advantage, forcing Murray to serve to stay in the set. The 34-year-old did, only to lose the tie-break as he smashed a backhand into the net.

The second set was served with service until Murray again secured the first break for a 3-2 lead. He held on serve to bring the score to 4-2 before wasting his opportunity to serve for the set in Game 10 as Basilashvili tied at 5-5 once again.

Murray had to serve to stay in the game at 6-5 and did so before leveling things off in the tie-break.

The former world number one was once again first with the break in service in the deciding set to lead 3-0. Basilashvili had to work hard to avoid a second break in Game 4, but managed to stay in the game, who remained on serve until Murray served him.

However, he had to save a break point to secure the victory, which came when the Georgian hit a forehand return into the net on Murray’s second serve.

In his post-game interview, Murray said: “I like the physique but I prefer to make it easier for myself. Basilashvili always hits the ball bigger than anyone on tour and I had to do a lot of defense and running – my legs held up well in the end.

“Sometimes I felt like I was hitting good serves and he was hitting massive shots. But in these windless conditions he is very comfortable and he was hitting huge balls one after the other and I just had to push them back.

“Yes, I got a lot of free points with my service. The rally went on his terms most of the time, so I served a bit more halfway through the second set. When he was serving I tried to take time.

Of his quarterfinal opponent David Goffin, Murray said: “He had a tough year last year, missing tennis a lot due to surgery. He’s on his way home, but he was in the top 10, 15 in the world for many years before his injuries and I’m sure he will want to go back.

Murray joins fellow Briton Dan Evans in the quarter-finals after claiming a straight-set victory over Spaniard Pedro Martinez.

Britain’s third seed was a class above its 61-ranked opponent, dominating both sides of the pitch en route to a 6-2 6-3 victory.

Evans converted his four breakpoint opportunities and allowed just eight unforced errors as he continued his solid form.

He will face sixth-seeded match winner Dusan Lajovic and Franco-American Maxime Cressy.

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