TOKYO - Defending champion Andy Murray posted a comfortable straight-sets win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia to earn a place in the quarter-finals at the Japan Open tennis tournament on Wednesday.
The top-seeded Briton, who won the US Open last year and took gold medal in the singles event at the Olympics, needed only 56 minutes to secure a 6-1, 6-2 victory in the second round.
With the win, Murray set up a quarter-final meeting against Beijing Olympic doubles gold medallist Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
"I started the match almost perfect. I only lost a couple of points in the first four or five games, so that was important. And once I got a break in the second set, I started to play better again," said Murray.
When he was asked about the match against seventh-seeded Wawrinka, he said: "He is playing very well just now. He had a good US Open and he also did well in Cincinnati, he made a semi-final.
"I think hard courts are a good surface for him. We had a lot of tough matches over years especially on hard courts, so I expect the same one on Friday," added Murray.
Wawrinka squandered three match points in the second set leading 6-3 in the tie-breaker before beating Jeremy Chardy of France 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (6/8), 7-5 in two hours 37 minutes.
"For sure, it wasn't easy in the second set, especially after having three match points in the tie-break," said Wawrinka, 27, who fired 19 aces.
"You need to be ready to still play the third set and to fight. It was really tough for me, but at the end I managed well. I was playing really good in the third set," he added.
As for the match against Murray, Wawrinka said: "He is playing great, he won the Olympics, he won the US Open and he always plays great here."
"It's going to be tough, for sure. It's always tough to play against top five, top four players. You need to focus on what you are going to do and try to play your best game," he said.
In the first round action, Juan Monaco of Argentina whipped Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-1, while third seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia outclassed Bangkok finalist Gilles Simon of France 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
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