Murray overcomes heat factor

Andy Murray found it tough going in the heat at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

Story highlights

  • Andy Murray struggled with the humidity during his victory over world number 199 John Millman
  • U.S.Open champion eventually prevailed in three sets at Brisbane International
  • John Isner faces race against time to be fit for Australian Open following knee injury
  • Serena Williams to face Victoria Azarenka in semifinals at Brisbane

Andy Murray struggled in the Australian heat as he survived a scare against world number 199 John Millman at the Brisbane International Thursday.

The U.S.Open champion, ranked third in the world, appeared to struggle with the humidity after racing through the first set 6-1 in just 30 minutes.

Millman, 23, was playing just his fifth match on the main ATP tour and shocked Murray by taking the second set 7-5.

And despite the Briton constantly clutching his stomach and legs, Millman was unable to repeat his heroics in the final set as Murray prevailed 6-3.

"It's incredibly humid here and I've had a lot of travelling too, and there were so many long points of very high intensity," Murray told reporters.

"It's just taking a little while to adjust to playing matches again after such a long period.

Funny: Open Court outtakes
Funny: Open Court outtakes


    Funny: Open Court outtakes


Funny: Open Court outtakes 02:48

"At the beginning of most years the first few matches can be tough on the body, but you get used to it and you feel better and better.

"That was the perfect first match for me in many ways, to go through some tough moments, a lot of long rallies and close games and important points, and to come through."

Injured Sharapova pulls out of Brisbane

Elsewhere, Serena Williams set up a semifinal showdown with world number one Victoria Azarenka.

Williams, the reigning Wimbledon, Olympic and U.S.Open champion, saw off 19-year-old Sloane Stevens 6-4 6-3.

Williams has won 11 of the 12 matches she has played against Azarenka and triumphed in all five games against the Belorussian in 2012.

But the 31-year-old played down her chances of winning the upcoming contest.

She told reporters: "I'm going up against the best player in the world," Williams said. "She's had a fabulous year. She won the Australian Open and has been the most consistent all year.

"I've got nothing to lose. I can go out there and see where my game is at."

Wozniacki wilts in Brisbane

Azarenka booked her place in the last four following a 6-1 6-0 win over Kazakhstan's Ksenia Pervak.

"It's a tough match, there is no question about it," she said ahead of the Williams clash.

"I'm looking forward to it. There is one more chance for us to meet (before Melbourne) and it's going to be a great test for the Australian Open.

"I'm not looking for easy matches. The tougher it is the more exciting for me it's going to be, so I'm quite happy with that."

Elsewhere, U.S. star John Isner faces a race against time to be fit for the Australian Open.

The world number 14 withdrew from the Hopman Cup in Perth Thursday after suffering an injury to his right knee.

Djokovic's Australian Open preparations suffer hiccup

Meanwhile, home favorite Bernard Tomic built on his shock win over world number one Novak Djokovic by defeating Andreas Seppi.

The 20-year-old Australian eased to a 6-3 7-5 victory to bolster his confidence ahead of this month's grand slam.

"It's an amazing preparation before the Australian Open," he told reporters.

"I have won three matches that are important for the summer of tennis in Melbourne.

"To beat Novak last night and then win again tonight was huge for me."

In the women's section, 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty stunned former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-0 6-3.

"I don't even know what happened out there," Barty said. "It was incredible."


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.