Andy Murray routs Sousa to set up Dimitrov showdown as Federer bows out

The Scot now has chance to play the young Bulgarian and avenge his Wimbledon defeat

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates after defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal in their men’s singles third round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates after defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal in their men’s singles third round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

 

Andy Murray has set up a mouth-watering clash with Grigor Dimitrov and a chance to avenge his defeat at Wimbledon after destroying Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-1 6-1 7-5 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.

The Briton had his Wimbledon title defence ended by Dimitrov in the quarter-finals last year and will face the rising Bulgarian after he prevailed in a five-set dog-fight against Marcos Baghdatis.

Murray steamrolled the 55th-ranked Sousa in the opening two sets but the Portuguese conjured some late resistance to recover a break in the seventh game of the third, prompting the frustrated Scot to throw his racket in disgust.

Murray blew two match points when Sousa was serving to stay in the match but closed it out on the third when his opponent hit a lob just long, the ending finishing on a controversial note with the Portuguese unable to challenge the line-call.

Meanwhile four-time champion Roger Federer suffered his earliest exit at the Australian Open since 2003 as he slumped to a stunning four-set defeat against Italian Andreas Seppi.

Seppi came into the match having lost all 10 of his previous matches against the 17-time grand slam champion, snatching just one set in the process.

But incredibly the world number 46 pulled off a 6-4 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 7-6 (7/5) victory over the second seed, who reached at least the semi-final stage each year from 2004 to 2014.

“I just tried to enjoy to play centre court again,” the unshaven Italian said in a courtside interview.

“I just tried to do my best and I think it was one of the best matches (of my career). It was great to play in front of a full stadium.”

While a gloomy Federer told reporters;

“I guess I won the wrong points out there today. The end wasn’t pretty... I just somehow couldn’t play my best tennis today and it was partially because Andreas played very well today.”

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