Andy Murray is into the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and on track to make it two in a row.

The third-seeded Murray easily beat Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 on Monday, his fourth straight-sets win in a row, and will play Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the quarterfinals.

“After the first few games, I mean, it didn’t feel like that competitive,” Murray said. “Sort of at this stage of a Grand Slam you’re sort of gee’d up and prepared for a tough battle. That’s why it becomes hard because the emotions aren’t quite into it.”

Serena, Azarenka cruise

Serena Williams had a similarly easy time advancing to the quarterfinals and a chance to win her third major in a row with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Maria Kirilenko. She’s still on course for potential semifinal meeting with defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who advanced 6-1, 6-1 over Elena Vesnina earlier in the day.

“I didn’t expect to come out and play so well tonight,” Williams said. “I was like ‘Wow!’ I saw I had 95 per cent first serves in the first set. I said ‘Who is this girl?’ It’s not me usually.”

Serena next plays 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens, who reached the quarterfinals at a major for the first time with a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 win over Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia.

Chardy followed up his upset win over 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro by defeating No. 21 Andreas Seppi 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday.

Another Frenchman through was seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the fourth round.

“It’s getting there ... with every match you start building up for the top battles starting now,” said Azarenka, who only needed 57 minutes to beat Vesnina. “It’s really exciting to be again so far in the tournament.”

Next up for Azarenka is a quarterfinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova, who entered the season’s first major ranked No. 75 but has won titles at the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open.

Kuznetsova was given a time warning for taking too long during a changeover in her 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, but said it didn’t bother her.

As for Wozniacki, after twice failing to win her breakthrough major as the No. 1-ranked woman at the Australian Open, she is now expected to drop out of the top 10 after a fourth round loss that follows back-to-back first round exits at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Kuznetsova is moving in the other direction on her comeback from a right knee injury that ruled her out of the last US Open, ending a run of contesting 40 consecutive majors. And she’s looking forward to taking on Azarenka.

“The time I played in Indian Wells was totally a disaster. I got (beaten) very badly,” she said. “But, I mean, she’s tough; she’s No. 1; I have nothing to lose; she has all the pressure.

“I know I got the game to give her some problems, and I will just do my best and just try to enjoy it.”

Sania-Bob in quarters

India’s challenge ended in the men’s doubles event with the defeat of Mahesh Bhupathi and Daniel Nestor even as Sania Mirza and Bob Bryan progressed to the mixed doubles quarterfinals.

Bhupathi and Nestor were sent packing 3-6, 6-4, 3-6 by the Italian combo of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in the second round.

Sania and her partner Bob advanced to the quarterfinals with a come-from-behind win.

The Indo-American pair defeated Abigail Spears and Scott Lipsky 4-6, 6-1, 10-4 in the second round

They will now fight it out with Czech team of Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak for a place in the semifinals.

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