Saturday 25 November 2017

Dominant Murray hits his groove

Phil Casey

Andy Murray charged into the third round of the US Open with a dominant performance against Jamaica's Dustin Brown.

Murray needed just 85 minutes to seal a 7-5 6-3 6-0 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium, shrugging off a brief rain delay to advance to the last-32 at Flushing Meadows for the fifth year in succession.

The flamboyant Brown delighted his noisy band of supporters with some extravagant hitting early on, but once Murray got to grips with the 25-year-old's serve the result was never in doubt.

"I'd never played him before so at the start of the match it was very interesting," Murray said. "He went for his shots and was hitting fun shots so I was glad to get off in straight sets. It was tough conditions -- very windy out there.

"It was very different. He's a shot-maker, he is obviously fun to watch and had great support today. It was a good atmosphere and I enjoyed it."

Murray had just held his serve to lead 2-1 in the opening set when play was suspended due to light rain. Rain had been forecast due to Hurricane Earl sweeping up the east coast of the US, although it had been downgraded from a category-four to category-one.

In the six minutes' play that was possible, Murray had already lost two of his three available challenges on debatable line calls, the fourth seed querying Brown's first two serves but seeing them both confirmed as aces.

Play resumed after a delay of around 25 minutes and Brown continued to produce some thumping serves and forehands, but the world No 123 was unable to put any pressure on the Murray serve and the Scot gained the break in the 12th game of the set.

Two superb forehand winners were whipped past Brown as he charged into the net to set up two set points and, although Brown saved the first with an ace, the British No 1 forced his opponent to net a forehand to take the set 7-5.


The 23-year-old Scot raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set with two breaks of serve -- Brown having no answer to Murray's more complete all-round game.

Brown held serve to avoid a whitewash and then broke back with the aid of two crunching forehand returns. Another successful hold reduced the deficit to 5-3, but Murray made no mistake at the second time of asking, serving out to love to take the set 6-3 and place one foot in the third round.

That effectively killed the match as a contest and Murray raced through the third set with three breaks of serve to set up a clash with either Juan Ignacio Chela or Stanislas Wawrinka.

Defending women's champion Kim Clijsters won 12 games in a row to storm into the third round with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Petra Kvitova. Kvitova raced into a 3-0 lead with two breaks of serve. That meant the Czech left-hander had already won more games than during her previous meeting with Clijsters -- a 6-1 6-1 defeat in Miami this year -- but that was as good as it got for her.

After three double faults in the third game, Clijsters got to grips with her serve and won the next 12 games in a row to seal victory.

The US Open,

Live, Sky Sports 2, 4.0; Eurosport, 4.45

Irish Independent

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