Murray victory overshadowed by father-in-law’s collapse
Andy Murray moved into the fourth round of the Australian Open in surreal circumstances on Saturday , completing a 6-2 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory over Joao Sousa after his father-in-law had collapsed ill a few hundred metres away.
The Briton was unaware throughout the 158-minute contest that Nigel Sears, the coach of Serbian Ana Ivanovic and father of his expectant wife Kim, had collapsed in the stands on Rod Laver Arena.
The 28-year-old performed his normal victory celebrations after reaching the last 16 for the eighth straight year but was ushered off without the usual on court post match interview.
Murray had previously said he would pull out of the tournament and return to Britain to be with his wife should she go into labour with their first child, due in mid-February.
Thee Scot, who had never lost to the Portuguese in six previous meetings, broke twice to win the first set with ease but stalled in the second.
Baseliner Sousa, who spent time practising with Spaniard Rafa Nadal over the close season, believed he was in the form of his life going into the contest and was out to prove it.
He broke Murray’s first service game of the second stanza and kept up the pressure with some ferocious groundstrokes to take the first set off the second seed in the tournament so far.
Murray, who has played the world number 33 three times in the last four years at Melbourne Park, wrested back the momentum by breaking his opponent at the start of the third, however, and the victory never looked in doubt from then on.
The Scot, runner-up four times at Melbourne Park, sealed victory when the Portuguese went long and will next face the winner of the final third round match between Australians Bernard Tomic and John Millman.
Sears’ collapse forced a near hour-long suspension of Ivanovic’s third round clash with Madison Keys.
A Reuters witness said that Nigel Sears was conscious and appeared to be communicating with medical staff as they treated him before he was taken out of Rod Laver Arena on a stretcher and then to hospital.
Ivanovic was leading American Madison Keys 1-0 in the second set after taking the first 6-4 when play was halted as the players went to change ends.
Television microphones picked up Ivanovic talking to chair umpire Felix Torralba that she thought the person being treated was her coach. The Serb looked visibly distressed before she and Keys went off court about 10 minutes after play was halted.
Tournament organisers said they did not have any details of what had necessitated Sears to require treatment.
The 58-year-old Sears had previously coached Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova, leading her to a top-10 ranking. He joined Ivanovic in June 2011 after almost five years with the Lawn Tennis Association and Britain’s Fed Cup team.
They parted company after Wimbledon in 2013 but he rejoined her team last year.
Ivanovic still appeared distressed when they returned to court and ESPN reported both her and Keys had been given the option to postpone the match, which Keys went on to win 4-6 6-4 6-4, though tournament organisers were not able to confirm that immediately to Reuters.
It is the second time this tournament that one of Ivanovic’s matches had been suspended due to an incident in the stands.
Her second round match against Anastasija Sevastova was held up for 26 minutes when a woman fell in the stands at the same showcourt.
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