Murray struggles to tame Melzer

DOHA: World number one Andy Murray laboured past Austrian Gerald Melzer 7-6(6) 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open on Wednesday after defending champion Novak Djokovic had also progressed with relative ease.
A passive Murray dropped serve twice in the opening set and world number 68 Melzer saved eight set points with some brave hitting before the Briton took the opener on a tie-break. Left-hander Melzer continued to strike the ball heavily, especially off the forehand side, and Murray grew visibly rattled at his inability to polish off his opponent.
Eventually the Scot got the break in the seventh game of the second set but he failed to claim victory when serving at 5-4 as the 26-year-old Melzer forced a break of his own.
Djokovic, seeded two, had an easier time against Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos, winning 6-3 6-4 in 72 minutes. The Serb will face 38-year-old Czech Radek Stepanek who became the oldest ATP Tour quarterfinalist since Jimmy Connors, aged 42, in 1995, when he beat wildcard Arthur De Greef. After the match, Djokovic was then shocked by opponent Horacio Zeballos who took a selfie of the pair on court. — Agencies