Andy Murray (above) downed the 16th-seeded Bernad Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in two hours, 30 minutes © Getty Images
Andy Murray (above) downed the 16th-seeded Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in two hours, 30 minutes © Getty Images

Melbournne: An emotionally drained Andy Murray beat Bernard Tomic to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday, easing the stress of a difficult few days after the collapse of his father-in-law. The British world number two downed the 16th-seeded Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in two hours, 30 minutes to end home interest in the tournament and set up a last-eight match with Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer. It will be the seventh consecutive quarter-final in Melbourne for Murray, who is bidding to finally win the title for the first time after four runner-up finishes.

The victory capped a difficult period for Murray, who rushed to the hospital bedside of his father-in-law Nigel Sears, Ana Ivanovic’s coach, after he collapsed at the tournament on Saturday. Sears was cleared to leave hospital on Sunday and fly home following tests. Adding to the tension of the moment, Murray’s wife Kim Sears is heavily pregnant and he has pledged to rush home if she goes into labour.

“It was just a tough, emotional few days at a difficult time. Everyone’s just very happy that Nige is doing well, that he can be back home with his friends and family, be with Kim, as well, at this time. It will be nice for her, I’m sure. I woke up I felt quite drained, quite tired today. As the day went on and I decided to play, I started to focus a little bit better,” Murray told reporters, adding that he considered withdrawing from the tournament. He added: “It’s been a hard, hard few days. Hopefully gets better the next few days. I just can’t believe something like that happened a few days ago. It’s shocking. Nige is an unbelievably fit guy. Very, very scary.”

Tricky match

Murray put the medical emergency behind him but it was a scrappy match, as he broke the Australian’s serve six times and dropped his own serve four times. “It was a tricky match. I got up a break I think in all of the sets. Each time he got it back. So there were quite a few momentum shifts in all of the sets. He definitely played better in the third set. He started taking a lot more chances. It wasn’t easy for me to get into a rhythm. Luckily he missed a few easy forehands in the tiebreak, and that helped me out in the breaker. Helped me get it done in straight sets,” he said.

Murray lost his service twice but broke Tomic’s serve three times on the way to taking the opening set in 47 minutes. Tomic’s service came under pressure again in the second set with the Scot breaking him in the first and third games while dropping his in the second game. But Murray was more consistent around the court while the Australian missed some opportunities with wayward volleys and poor judgement.

Murray took a firm grip when he claimed the second set with an ace. Both players traded service breaks early in the final set but Tomic made a number of errors in the deciding tiebreak as Murray coasted home. Tomic has yet to take a set off Murray in four encounters. Murray defeated Tomic in the Davis Cup semi-finals in Glasgow last year to secure a 3-2 victory as Great Britain went out to beat Belgium in the Davis Cup Final. Murray maintained his record of never losing a tour-level match against an Australian, and has now won all 17 of his meetings against Australian opposition.