Melbourne: Andy Murray saw off giant-killer Sam Querrey on Friday as he ramped up his bid for a first Australian Open title after the shock departure of six-time champion Novak Djokovic.
On a cool day in Melbourne, the men's number one and women's top seed Angelique Kerber both hit a hot patch of form as the final rounds beckoned.
Murray will have watched from the sidelines as second seed Djokovic, his conqueror in four Melbourne finals, suffered a stunning defeat to 117th-ranked Denis Istomin on Thursday.
Querrey also shocked Djokovic at Wimbledon last year but Murray, made a knight in Britain's New Year honours, never looked like slipping on any banana skins in round three.
Murray put Querrey away 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in just under two hours, winning 77 percent of points on his first serve and facing only three break points in a clinical display.
The Scot also showed no signs of discomfort in his right ankle, after he rolled it painfully during his second-round win over Andrey Rublev.
"I felt better and better as the match went on in terms of my movement," he said. "The ankle was a little sore and I was a little tentative at the start but it got better and better through the match."
Next up for Murray is an assignment with Mischa Zverev, the elder brother of highly-rated German teen Alexander who came through in four sets against Tunisia's Malek Jaziri.
The winner of that meeting will play either Roger Federer or Tomas Berdych, the old Grand Slam rivals who will play the night match on Rod Laver Arena later.
Stan stutters before Troicki triumph
Former winner Stan Wawrinka lost his serve twice serving for the match before he clinched a four-set victory over Viktor Troicki to reach the Australian Open fourth round on Friday.
The Swiss fourth seed dropped the opening set but he recovered and was cruising to victory before Troicki forced him into a fourth-set tiebreaker.
Wawrinka needed three match points before completing a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) victory over the 29th-seeded Serb in two hours, 32 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
Wawrinka maintained his 100 percent record against Troicki, winning all eight of their matches with the loss of only three sets to the Serb.
The Swiss broke Troicki's service seven times and dropped his own serve five times.
Wawrinka, who beat Rafael Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final, will face Andreas Seppi in the round of 16 after the experienced Italian got past Belgium's Steve Darcis in four sets.
It was the fifth straight year Wawrinka has reached the fourth round in Melbourne and comes after earlier wins over Slovak Martin Klizan and American Steve Johnson.
Last year as the fourth seed, Wawrinka fell to Milos Raonic over five sets in the round of 16.
Wawrinka is chasing his fourth Grand Slam title after his other wins at the 2015 French Open and last year's US Open.
Former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also came through in four sets against Jack Sock and will play either Australia's Bernard Tomic or Briton Dan Evans. The 23-seeded Sock lost 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3 to No 12 seed.
Andreas Seppi, who beat 13th seed and home favourite Nick Kyrgios in a five-setter, went on to overcome Steve Darcis 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (2). to advance.
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Jan 20, 2017 13:48 PM | Updated Date: Jan 20, 2017 13:48 PM