Australian Open day 8: Murray breezes past injured Kukushkin and into quarter-finals, Djoković too strong for Hewitt
Andy murray has sailed through to the Australian Open quarter-finals for the third year in a row after his fourth round oppenent Mikhail Kukushkin retired through injury at Melbourne Park.
The Scot was up 6-1 6-1 1-0 before the two five-set matches his Kazakhstan opponent played earlier in the tournament eventually took their toll, with Kukushkin suffering a left hip flexor injury.
Fourth seed Murray will now face Kei Nishikori, after the Japanese stunned Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in their fourth round encounter.
Three unforced errors in the first game handed Murray a break and the Scot struck again for a 3-0 lead. Kukushkin finally displayed some fight to hit back in game four, only to relinquish his serve again after missing two backhands with the court open.
With world no.92 Kukushkin appearing hampered by injury, Murray broke once more to wrap up the first set.
Murray breached his defences with some clean hitting in the next set to go 5-1 up before serving out a game to love to take the set with ease.
Having required more treatment, and having lost his serve for an eighth successive time, Kukushkin called it quits at the start of the third set.
Meanwhile, reigning champion Novak Djoković overcame a fired-up Lleyton Hewitt in four sets to take his place in the quarter-finals alongside Murray. The number one seed beat the 30-year-old Australian 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3.
Djoković was cruising after winning the first two sets but Hewitt, buoyed by the home crowd, rallied and took the third, Djoković’s first dropped set of the tournament.
The Serb proved too strong in the end though and broke the Australian’s serve to go 4-2 up then sealed the final set 6-3.
The Serbian now faces Spaniard David Ferrer, the fifth seed, who beat Richard Gasquet in straight sets.
In the woman’s singles, Petra Kvitova overcame Ana Ivanovic to reach the quarter finals and now has a chance of replacing Caroline Wozniacki as world number one.
The Czech second seed won 6-2 7-6 (7-2) on a scorching day at Melbourne Park.
In the other draw there was a suprise as Serena Williams lost to Ekaterina Makarova. The 13-time major champion made 37 unforced errors as 56th-ranked Makarova won 6-2 6-3 in 82 minutes.