Clinical Murray gunning for pal Berankis

BRITAIN’S Andy Murray will put off-court friendships to the back of his mind tonight when he meets training partner Ricardas Berankis in the Australian Open third round, after ruthlessly dispatching Portuguese Joao Sousa in Melbourne yesterday.

The Scot triumphed 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in just an hour and forty-one minutes to ease past Sousa, a man he admitted he knew little about.

But Murray is familiar with Berankis, who caused an upset by beating 25th seed Florian Mayer in only three sets yesterday.

“I actually hit with Ricardas a lot,” Murray said. “I trained with him before the Australian Open last year. I also practised with him a couple of times this year. He is a really nice guy.”

In his current form Murray should not be particularly troubled by the unseeded Lithuanian, and forecasts suggest he will be spared a repeat of the blistering 39C heat he faced during the match against Sousa.

“When the sun came out, it was extremely hot,” said Murray. “I tried to shorten the points, which helps. I also served well and there were very few long rallies. It worked out well, because they were really tough conditions.”

Second seed Roger Federer kept alive the prospect of a quarter-final clash with Murray by comfortably beating Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.