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Murray avoids Djokovic fate to reach the fourth round

Kerber finds her rhythm

Angelique Kerber loses her balance during yesterday’s match against Kristyna Pliskova.

Angelique Kerber loses her balance during yesterday’s match against Kristyna Pliskova.

With Novak Djokovic’s reign broken, Andy Murray boosted his claim to the Melbourne Park throne with a comprehensive 6-4 6-2 6-4 win over American Sam Querrey to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open yesterday.

Top seed Murray, beaten in four of his five finals in Melbourne by Djokovic, has become raging favourite after the Serb’s stunning second round exit on Thursday and the Briton lived up to the billing by trouncing Querrey in a tick under two hours at the Hisense Arena.

Murray was among the many surprised by Djokovic’s elimination but was neither dancing on the Serb’s grave nor talking up his own hopes of a maiden title in Melbourne.

“It doesn’t change anything unless I was to potentially reach the final, because I can’t play Novak in the fourth round or in the third round,” Murray told reporters after setting up a clash with unseeded German Mischa Zverev.

Djokovic’s departure aside, Murray appeared free of another bugbear, showing no discomfort on the right ankle he twisted in his previous win against Russian teenager Andrey Rublev.

Although he cruised through the first two sets, the ankle was given a good work-out in the third by the desperate Querrey who dumped Djokovic out of Wimbledon at the same stage last year.

A rampaging Roger Federer delivered a stunning reminder of his class at the Australian Open with a crushing 6-2 6-4 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych.

Playing only his third tour match since coming back from a knee injury, Federer was expected to be tested by the hard-hitting Czech but he sent the 10th seed packing after a 90-minute masterclass at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena.

Federer will meet fifth seed Kei Nishikori for a place in the quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka overcame a rusty start to advance to the fourth round with a 3-6 6-2 6-2 7-6 victory over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.

Wawrinka set up a match against Andreas Seppi next after the Italian beat Belgium’s Steve Darcis 4-6 6-4 7-6 7-6 on Show Court 3.

Earlier, Dan Evans continued his extraordinary run in Melbourne with a thrilling 7-5 7-6 7-6 victory over Bernard Tomic to give Britain two men in the fourth round for the first time in 16 years.

The 26-year-old, who upset seventh seed Marin Cilic in the second round, prevailed after two hours 48 minutes in a highly-charged atmosphere on Hisense Arena to end Australia’s interest in the men’s singles draw.

Reigning champion Angelique Kerber said she was finally finding her rhythm at the Australian Open after racing into the fourth round with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Kristyna Pliskova in less than an hour.

The world number one had taken three sets to win the first two matches of her title defence at Melbourne Park but, two days after her 29th birthday, set an ominous pace by rattling through the first stanza in 20 minutes.

The German had served poorly in the first set and a minor wobble followed in the second but she recovered her composure to progress comfortably to a meeting with American Coco Vandeweghe.

Vandeweghe rallied from a break down in the deciding set to sweep past Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 3-6 7-5.

The 26-year-old American had never advanced beyond the third round at Melbourne Park before.

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