A red-hot Andy Murray destroyed Austria’s Juergen Melzer 6-3 6-1 6-1 to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday, firing an emphatic title warning with a performance of pure class.
The Briton, beaten by Roger Federer in last year’s Melbourne final, produced arguably the best tennis of the tournament so far to see off Melzer in an hour and 44 minutes.
“I hit the ball the best I have done of the first few matches,” fifth seed Murray told reporters while munching on a chocolate bar.
“The matches are going to get tougher. I’m ready for that mentally. I’m not expecting to go through the tournament winning matches like that.”
Murray was cheered on from the players’ box by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.
“We used to drive from Scotland down to England for tournaments and listen to him on cassettes,” Murray .
“My mum and dad were pretty lenient with that stuff,” he added, referring to the comic’s often colourful turn of phrase.
“Probably why my language is so bad on the court!”
Murray had Melzer turning the air blue himself, the 11th seed furiously hurling his racquet to the court as the Scot powered into a two-set lead.
Murray capped an awesome display on a sun-baked Rod Laver Arena with his 13th ace to suggest he can finally end his wait for a first grand slam title—and the first for a British man since Fred Perry in 1936.
He next plays Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who earlier upset fourth seed Robin Soderling.
“It will be difficult,” said Murray. “He’s a very strange guy to play against—very funky style.”