Andy Murray booked his place in the second round of the US Open with a hard-fought 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Alex Bogomolov Jr. on Arthur Ashe stadium today.
It was a patchy performance from the Brit who looked a bit ragged for large parts of the match, making 31 unforced errors in all. However despite troubles with his serve - struggling to find the first serve that had been so effective in London a month ago – the third seed hit 46 winners and was able to romp to victory in the third set, although the scoreline was perhaps a slightly generous reflection on an otherwise unconvincing performance.
The match began with four consecutive breaks of serve before Murray eventually held serve in the fifth game, despite facing more break points. The Brit appeared to have left his serve in London, finding just 29% of his first serves in the opening exchanges. But he was finding better results with the drop shot, constantly pulling the Russian in with some perfectly executed shot making.
The Olympic champion was finding his groove after the shaky start and set up yet more break points at 3-2 with an emphatic passing shot. And he sealed the fifth break of the match, his third, with a deft winner at the net after chasing down a drop shot from the Russian. Bogomolov still hadn’t held serve and he was helpless to prevent Murray from taking the opening set; a return winner from the Scot securing it 6-2.Read more (470 words)
The second set started the same way as the first, with the third seed getting broken in the opening game - ending his run of five successive games. And Bogomolov finally held serve at the fifth attempt, with Murray seemingly having gone completely off the boil. The British number one was still fighting hard to save the set though, and after saving break points at 1-3 he found a way back into it. A loose game from the Russian gave Murray break back point, and despite saving the first he allowed Murray to level the set with an unforced error on the next.
And suddenly the tide turned. The Scot was re-energised, and he breezed through his next service game to put himself ahead in the set for the first time. And as the wind got stronger, Bogomolov faltered. Another error handed Murray set point, and although he was able to save it, a double fault put him back in trouble again. And this time there was no mistake from the world number four, dictating the rally and forcing Bogomolov into the error to take the second set 6-4.
Murray was serving first again but this time he held to love, and finally seemed to be finding his rhythm. Some silky hitting helped him to more break points, but the Russian stood firm to save the first three. And then a piece of Murray magic - a sublime backhand lob from the Brit floating gracefully over Bogomolov’s head and landing well inside the baseline, setting up a fourth break point. And the world number 73’s resolve seemed to have broken; a careless leave handing Murray the break, putting him in firm control.
But just when it seemed as if this contest was heading to a swift close, Bogomolov broke back. A heavy forehand caught the outside of the tramline for break point, and a meek error from Murray handed Bogomolov a lifeline. But he couldn’t take advantage, surrendering the very next game to allow the Scot to surge back in front.
Although the first serve had improved – now at 45% - Murray was still struggling through his service games and had to face more break points from the Russian, who was refusing to lie down. But he was able to fend them off – despite a worrying moment where the Brit pulled up with cramp – and edge ever closer to a place in round two. And by now the fight finally seemed to have gone out of Bogomolov; Murray broke him for the ninth time in the match, before serving it out with a handful of winners to seal his place in the second round.
Murray will face the big serving Croat Ivan Dodig in round two, who saw off young Japanese qualifier Hiroki Moriya for the loss of just three games.