US Open heats up as Murray storms through

Julian Harris
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BRITAIN’S Andy Murray says he still needs to come out of the traps quicker despite winning last night’s US Open third round tie in straight sets.

The Scot, who had needed four sets to progress from the second round of the grand slam tournament, won in sweltering conditions yesterday, beating Germany’s Florian Mayer 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-2 at Flushing Meadows.

But as well as hoping for cooler weather, Murray said he needs to be sharper in the early stages of matches if he is to retain his US title.

“It cooled down a little bit towards the end but the first and second sets it was very hot. We’ve been told a thunderstorm is coming so hopefully that will take away some of the humidity,” the 26-year-old said.

“I need to start matches a little bit quicker, I was a little bit slow out of the blocks.”

Nonetheless, Murray now progresses into the last 16, where he will face Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, who overcame Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-1 late last night.

Murray’s third round match lasted just under two hours, despite the first set going to a tie-break. The Wimbledon champion let three break points slip as Mayer, the world No47, refused to let the set go.

But the tie-break immediately went Murray’s way as he broke the German’s serve on the opening point, before holding onto his service points and then going 4-0 up.

Mayer managed to win a point as the score moved to 5-1, but Murray, growing in confidence, comfortably sealing a 7-2 win courtesy of some excellent forehands.

The second set saw Murray holding serve to go 1-0 up before breaking Mayer straight away, then gaining the second game when Mayer sent a backhand into the net on the first of two break points.

Both players then held their serves as the score moved to 5-2, but Murray convincingly wrapped up the set with Mayer hitting a volley too long after the Scot had forced a break point.

Mayer fought on but Murray broke him in the fourth game of the final set and survived a surprise break point against his own serve in the seventh, before a final game break.

Meanwhile, later last night world No1 Serena Williams beat compatriot Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-1.

Stephens, the young US No2 who is bidding to usurp Williams, started well in a tight first set that stood at 5-4 with Stephens’ service game going to a nail-biting deuce.

Yet the 20-year-old finally succumbed, hitting a forehand wide on break point, giving Williams the set.

The second was more of a formality for Williams who broke in the fourth and sixth games.