Andy Murray advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open with a straightforward 6-3, 6-2 victory against Yen-Hsun Lu.
It was a solid if unspectacular performance from the Brit, who really upped his level on the big occasions; saving all five break points he faced to vindicate a straight sets defeat back in the Beijing Olympics five years ago.
The Taiwanese player got off to a solid start, securing the opening game with a dainty lob over the British number one. And he nearly broke in the following game; taking advantage of another slow start from the Scot, he raced to a couple of break points with some aggressive play. But the US Open champion clicked into gear, staving the danger away with an ace before getting on the board.
The serve came to the rescue once again in Murray’s following service game before the Brit finally made his mark on the match. Stepping it up, a couple of deep backhands forced errors from the Taiwanese number one and on his first break point the Scot fired a backhand volley into the corner to seal the break.Read more (265 words)
The world number three was starting to find his element now, and after holding for 4-2 he wrong-footed his opponent to open up 0-30. But Lu fought back, fending off the danger with a couple of huge forehands to stay within touching distance in the opening set. Murray was forced to defend more break points in the following game, but yet again he raised his game; grazing the line with successive forehand winners before serving his way out of danger.
And the British number one sealed the first set 6-3 after Lu double faulted on the first set point.
After a misplaced forehand from Lu opened up a break point in the opening game of set two, it looked like Murray might run away with it. But the Taiwanese player saved well, stretching Murray wide and hitting a volley into the open court before holding. And now Lu was going all guns blazing, firing winners and errors alike as he desperately tried to find a way back into the match.
But it was to no avail. The Scot raised his level once again, defending against Lu’s barrage before pouncing in the sixth game with a love break after some loose play from the Taiwanese man. Murray held for 5-2 before raising his game again, breaking Lu for the match after the Taiwanese player hit a backhand into the tramlines.
In the fourth round Murray will face the Argentinian Carlos Berlocq. The 30 year old, perhaps more at home on the clay, has already taken out the 22nd seed Dolgopolov and 16th seed Nishikori this week.