Defending champion Andy Murray posted a comfortable straight-sets win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia to earn a place in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open yesterday.
The top-seeded Briton, who won the US Open and took the gold medal in the men’s singles at the London Olympics, needed only 56 minutes to secure a 6-1, 6-2 victory in the second round.
With the win, Murray set up a quarter-final meeting against Beijing Olympic doubles gold medalist Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
“I started the match almost perfect. I only lost a couple of points in the first four or five games, so that was important, and once I got a break in the second set I started to play better again,” Murray said.
When he was asked about the match against seventh seed Wawrinka, he said: “He is playing very well just now. He had a good US Open and he also did well in Cincinnati, he made a semi-final.”
“I think hard courts are a good surface for him. We had a lot of tough matches over years, especially on hard courts, so I expect the same one on Friday,” Murray added.
Wawrinka squandered three match points in the second set leading 6-3 in the tiebreaker before beating Jeremy Chardy of France 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (6/8), 7-5 in 2 hours, 37 minutes.
“For sure, it wasn’t easy in the second set, especially after having three match points in the tiebreak,” said Wawrinka, 27, who fired 19 aces. “You need to be ready to still play the third set and to fight. It was really tough for me, but at the end I managed well. I was playing really good in the third set.”
As for the match against Murray, Wawrinka said: “He is playing great, he won the Olympics, he won the US Open and he always plays great here.”
In the first-round action, Juan Monaco of Argentina whipped Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-1, while third seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia outclassed Bangkok finalist Gilles Simon of France 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.