Friday 30 September 2016

Murray defies downpour to book place in next round

Tennis

Tom Allnutt

Published 02/09/2016 | 02:30

Murray “At first we didn’t know if there was just more people coming in at the change of ends, but then we quickly realised it was the rain.” Photo: Getty Images
Murray “At first we didn’t know if there was just more people coming in at the change of ends, but then we quickly realised it was the rain.” Photo: Getty Images

Andy Murray had to play through a deafening downpour on his way to victory over Marcel Granollers and a place in the US Open third round.

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Murray's match was put under the $150m roof in Arthur Ashe Stadium but a combination of echoing chatter and torrential rain outside still made conditions a challenge.

The Scot, however, wavered only momentarily as he beat Granollers 6-4 6-1 6-4 to book his place in round three. He will now face either France's Gilles Simon or Italian Paolo Lorenzi.

This was not a vintage Murray performance. He made 28 unforced errors and his first serve only landed 43pc of the time, but another straight-sets win will preserve energy for sterner tests to come.

There was also the challenge of playing under the roof, which amplified an already noisy New York crowd and for a while caused a clattering din as the rain poured down top.

"At first we didn't know if there was just more people coming in at the change of ends, but then we quickly realised it was the rain," said Murray.

"It was tough, you couldn't really hear the ball which makes it tricky. But we're lucky to play under the roof; otherwise there wouldn't be any tennis so it's good for everyone."

Murray had won his last four meetings against Granollers and only lost twice in nine, but the emphatic scoreline was harsh on the world No 45, who was particularly threatening at the end of the first set.

Two games, lasting 23 minutes, had Murray scrambling but the Scot survived and never looked back thereafter.

"It was tough; had it gone to 5-5 then the first set becomes a really tough one and all the pressure is on me at the end of that set," Murray said. "Thankfully I got through that 5-4 game and the momentum was back with me."

There was a shock in the women's overnight as world No 3 Garbine Muguruza crashed out, stunned in round two by Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.

Muguruza won three games in a row to threaten a comeback in the second set but Sevastova finally converted her fourth match point to win 7-5 6-4.

Sevastova temporarily gave up tennis in 2013 due to illness and injury but she has now reached her first grand slam third round, where she will meet Kateryna Bondarenko.

"I was shaking a little bit at the end," Sevastova said. "But I am so happy it went well."

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