Andy Murray on Wednesday night survived his second consecutive scare on Pat Rafter Arena when forced to dig extremely deep to overcome Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 in two hours to book a place in the Brisbane International quarterfinals. It was almost a carbon copy of his first-round win over world No.91 Mikhail Kukushkin, again appearing in discomfort and frustrated as he lost the first set to Muller before storming back late in the second. Murray paid credit to the world No.54′s big serve but admitted he was far off his best fitness after ending 2011 early with a groin problem. While last year’s Australian Open runner-up felt his body was gradually improving, Murray didn’t expect to be at his peak until the opening round at Melbourne Park.
“I want to be feeling 100 per cent on Monday in 10 or 11 days, that’s the goal, but with each match your body’s going to feel better,” said the 24-year-old. “The more matches I can get this week the better so it’s been a good start.” With main rivals Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer playing in the Middle East, Murray will now meet popular Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in his Friday quarterfinal and hopes to finally feel some nerves. He said it was only when he was down a break point to go down 5-3 in the second set that the adrenaline started to flow and helped him click into gear. Murray rallied, sent the set to a tiebreak, took control with an amazing reverse backhand flick on the run and then swept through the third set. “They’re the sort of points I need to be repeating over and over,” he said. “That point was a big one and it gave me more confidence in movement and I didn’t feel any soreness and stiffness and I felt I loosened up a little bit after that.”