Andy Murray vs. Joao Sousa: Score, Reaction from 2016 Australian Open

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2016

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates during his third round match against Joao Sousa of Portugal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016.(AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)
Andrew Brownbill/Associated Press

Andy Murray booked his place in the last-16 of the Australian Open on Saturday, as he emerged victorious from a gruelling battle with the industrious Joao Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Murray was yet to surrender a set in the tournament at the start of Saturday’s play, but he quickly found himself on the back foot against the Portuguese star.

Sousa was pushing Murray all the way to deuce on his service games and not looking like being broken himself, yet the sixth game brought about the turning point of the match.

The Scot was very much on the back foot in a Sousa service rally, before he produced a moment of brilliance to reach a drop shot and put it to bed, as Eurosport UK TV's video shows:

It's not often that one point changes the whole context of a set, but Sousa simply didn’t look like the same player after that, as Murray won the next three games without reply.

However, the second set didn’t kick off how the No. 2 seed would have liked, as he was immediately broken by Sousa, who once again looked a formidable force.

Andrew Brownbill/Associated Press
Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Murray grafted hard to work his way back into the set, but his opponent was just too strong on serve and was playing some fabulous tennis.

His groundstrokes were incredibly accurate and forced Murray into positions of no return. In fact, Sousa only faced one break point all set, as he levelled the match at 1-1 thanks to an impressive 6-3 triumph. Eurosport UK TV’s video showed the moment the Portuguese star secured the set:

During that second set, reports emerged of Murray’s father-in-law Nigel Sears collapsing while watching Ana Ivanovic, whom he coaches. USA Today's Nick McCarvel broke the news:

Sears was leaving the player's box due to feeling unwell, yet he could only make it halfway up the stairs.

Fortunately, Murray’s brother Jamie revealed Sears is now recovering well in the hospital after his scare, via BBC Sport:

Former player and current BBC pundit Andrew Castle was hoping Sears was just dehydrated:

Back on court, Murray—still seemingly unaware of the events elsewhere—kicked his game up a notch.

He broke Sousa’s serve in the very first game of the third and barely set a foot out of line for the remainder of the set. Murray has always been excellent at returning strong serves, and the way he was dealing with Sousa’s was nothing short of incredible.

He went on to break again in the fifth game on the way to a 6-2 set victory, per Eurosport UK TV:

And if you thought Murray was playing well in that set, then the fourth was even better.

Sousa just couldn’t compete with what the Scot was throwing at him, with his lethal backhand doing plenty of damage.

Murray broke in the fifth and seventh games of the set without really breaking sweat, before going on to round off the match with a 6-2 victory.

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The Scot did surrender his first set of the tournament, but the way he went about his business after was excellent.

And while Sousa proved just how good he can be, he didn’t have an answer to the second seed’s brilliance.

Murray takes on a home favourite in the last-16, as he’ll face the victor of Bernard Tomic and John Millman’s clash.

Based on this form, though, you’d back Murray to silence the Melbourne crowd and go all the way.

Reaction to follow...