Andy Murray overcame a slow start to defeat Florian Mayer – no relation of Leonardo - 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 in New York today.
The Brit seemed to be struggling with the conditions early on, but having stepped it up to take the first set on a tie-break he really came into his own, showing off his array of shots to move into the fourth round in impressive style. Murray hit 42 winners and wasn’t broken once, facing just the two break points all match.
A peculiar opening game saw three challenges, two over-rules and three breaks point for Murray – but the Brit was unable to take advantage, and Mayer eventually held.
Having survived that first game the German started to come into his own, and some heavy serving combined with clever net play enabled Mayer to hold onto his own service games with relative ease, allowing him the opportunity to have a go at Murray’s serve.
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The Brit seemed to be struggling to cope with the conditions and appeared quite lethargic, often looking like he was having problems drawing breath. Nonetheless he held firm, never really allowing Mayer a chance to break – despite only managing to find 33% of his first serves. And with neither player able to make much of an impression against the serve, the set drifted into a tie-break.
And it was the third seed that raised it up a notch, finally finding his first serve and racing through the tie-break courtesy of a couple of delightful forehands, taking it 7-2.
Murray carried this recent surge of form into the second set, breaking to 30 in Mayer’s first service game, having now won 19 of the last 24 points. The Brit was looking a lot more comfortable on Arthur Ashe court, starting to really unleash on the forehand side.
Mayer was struggling to make any form of impact on the Murray serve and found himself in more trouble when serving to stay in the set, going down 0-30. The German got it back to 30-30, but a stunning return winner from Murray on the stretch seemed to deflate him and he handed over the set with an unforced error.
The defending champion was now in complete control and there was little Mayer could do to trouble him. A couple of stunning winners at 2-1 saw Murray to more break points before another emphatic return earned him a 3-1 lead. The German was now fading quickly and Murray had more break points at 4-1, but this time Mayer was able to find his first serve to avoid the double break.
There was a slight scare for Murray in his next game as he went break point down, but the Brit responded in typical Murray fashion to fend off the danger. And as in the second set he really stepped it up at 5-2, showing off his deft touch with a beautiful flicked winner round the net before sealing the victory after Mayer netted.
Murray will now take on Denis Istomin in the fourth round as he looks to make his 11th successive quarter-final at grand slam level. The Uzbekistani has taken out the 15th seed Nicolas Almagro and the 20th seed Andreas Seppi to get to this stage.