Andy Murray is through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after defeating big-serving American Sam Querrey in straight sets. The Scot suffered one break of serve during the match as he cruised through 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in just under two hours and will next face Germany's Mischa Zverev, who beat Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.
The world number one has his best chance to win his first Australian Open title after his biggest threat Novak Djokovic was dumped out of the tournament by Denis Istomin on 19 January. But Murray can open up a 3,500-point advantage over Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings if he triumphs at Melbourne Park.
The match was evenly poised until the eighth game of the first set, but Querrey was unable to keep it going as he lost his serve in the ninth game after saving two break points. Murray then served out the tenth game to take the first set 6-4. The second set saw the American broken on two occasions in the third and seventh game which saw the Scot wrap up the set 6-2.
The third set was less predictable after Murray and Querrey broke each other in game one and four respectively. The Scot looked to be on course for a comfortable win after breaking in the very first game of the final set, but the world number 31 was not willing to give up yet. He broke back in game four to take it back on serve, but he was broken again in the ninth, before the 29-year-old served out for the match.
"It was obviously tough. Sam, especially in the first set, was hitting big serves. The key moment was saving break point and breaking the next game – I had the momentum," Murray said, speaking on court after game, as quoted by BBC Sport.
"I felt better and better as the match went on. I was hesitant at the beginning but I was moving well at the end," the Scot said of his ankle problem.
Meanwhile, women's world number one and defending champion Angelique Kerber booked her place in the last-16 with a dominant 6-0, 6-4 win over Czech Republic's Kristyna Pliskova and will next face American Coco Vandeweghe, who overcame Canada's Eugenie Bouchard.
Men's fourth seed Stan Wawrinka came through in four sets against Croatian Viktor Troicki and will play Nick Kyrgios' conqueror Andreas Seppi, who beat Belgium's Steve Darcis. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is also through to the fourth round and awaits the winner of Great Britain's Dan Evans, whose match against home favourite Bernard Tomic was scheduled on Hisense Arena after Murray's clash with Querrey.