.Federer, Sharapova Also Move To 4th Round, As Wozniacki Crash Out –
Andy Murray gave evidence that he could yet be a contender for the title with an impressive third-round win over 26th seed Feliciano Lopez at the Australian Open.
Also, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka all won in straight sets but Maria Sharapova had to work much harder to reach the fourth round.
However, Murray, playing only his second tournament since having a back operation, won 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-2 on Hisense Arena to reach the last 16.
There he will face France’s Stephane Robert, the first man ever to make the fourth round after losing in qualifying only to get a “lucky loser” place when another player withdrew.
Murray, 26, will go into that match as a heavy favourite but has played down his chances of winning a third Grand Slam title next Sunday so early in his return from surgery.
“I’ve recovered well after the matches”, he said. “From time to time there’s a bit of stiffness and soreness, but for the most part it’s been good.
“You normally are going to get some stiffness in an area where you’ve had surgery. It takes a bit of time for that to go away”.
Federer beat Teymuraz Gabashvili while top seed Nadal saw off Gael Monfils on a cooler day in Melbourne.
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka brushed aside Yvonne Meusburger but Sharapova survived a scrappy second set to beat France’s Alize Cornet 6-1 7-6. Spain’s Garbine Muguruza knocked out 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki.
Meanwhile, Dom Inglot is the only remaining Briton in the men’s doubles after Colin Fleming, Ross Hutchins and Jamie Murray all went out in round two.