Murray glad to see Berankis back

  • Last Updated: January 18 2013, 8:17 GMT

Andy Murray has welcomed the return to top-level tennis of Ricardas Berankis - and accepts the resurgent Lithuanian will present a significant danger to his Australian Open hopes on Saturday.

Andy Murray: Plenty of respect for Berankis
Andy Murray: Plenty of respect for Berankis

Berankis, 22, was earmarked as a future star in the game before his career was derailed by a groin injury which was initially mis-diagnosed.

His run so far in Melbourne, however, suggests he is getting back on track.

Having come through qualifying, the right-hander from Vilnius, ranked 110 in the world, thrashed 25th seed Florian Mayer for the loss of six games to advance to a last-32 meeting with the world number three.

Murray is familiar with Berankis having hit with him recently and is pleased he appears to have overcome his fitness issues.

"I practised with him before the Australian Open last year, before he started qualifying, and again in Brisbane (a few weeks ago)," he said.

"He works hard, he's a really nice guy and it's nice to see him do well because we spent quite a bit of time practising together.

"He is a very hard worker, he has had a couple of injuries over the last couple of years and it will be tough."

Murray eased into round three with a routine straight-sets win over Joao Sousa - a match in which his biggest foe was the blazing Melbourne sun.

And Berankis, which literally translates as 'no arms' in his native tongue, knows he will have to be at his very best to make any headway against the US Open and Olympic champion.

"I am just going to try my best, playing the top players is always tough," he said.

"I will have to do everything as well as possible. If everything goes well we will see."

He certainly won't be overawed by facing Murray.

"I feel calm. I have practised with him so it's not going to be a big surprise to see Andy Murray on the other side of the net," he added.

"The first time [you practise with a top player] it's like 'wow' but after a while you just calm down and play your own game. I think it's an advantage that I am used to him.

"I am feeling confident at the moment, that's for sure. To simply get through the qualifiers and then past the first round is key for every player at a grand slam.

"You have to keep knocking on the door and hope it's going to open."


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