BRITAIN’S Andy Murray is expecting to have to fight tooth and nail when he meets Florent Serra today for a place in the last 16 of the Australian Open.
Fifth seed Murray has enjoyed a hassle-free start to his quest to snare a first Grand Slam title in Melbourne, dropping just 12 games on his path to the third round. World No64 Serra, on the other hand, has already come through two five-set slug-fests against more established opponents in Jurgen Melzer and Jarkko Nieminen.
And that has left Murray in no mood to underestimate the unseeded Frenchman.
“He’s been around the 50 [ranking] mark for quite a long time,” said the Scot. “He’s a solid player. He has had two very long matches so far and he has saved a couple of match points. So he is going to go for it. I’ll have to make sure I’m on my game.”
Murray, who is likely to face another Frenchman in Gael Monfils if he reaches the fourth round, has struggled with his serving so far at the tournament, registering just 35 per cent of first serves in during his opening-round win over Kevin Anderson.
The world No5 fared little better in the second round against Marc Gicquel, but is sufficiently at ease with the issue to laugh it off.
On being broken once and taken to deuce four times in six games by Gicquel, Murray deadpanned: “Yeah, how terrible. I mean, this is the highest level of the sport. That’s going to happen.
“I’ve played two matches and got broken twice – once in each match. So I’m reasonably happy with that. I served better than I did the first day. I’m sure I’ll serve better in the next round.”
Murray has never faced the 28-year-old clay-court specialist before, but has won 14 ATP Tour titles to Serra’s more modest total of two.