Andy Murray’s US Open charge rolled smoothly against Feliciano Lopez, who he beat soundly in straight sets as Lopez struggled to cope with windy conditions.
A dominant Murray won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 without being broken and now faces American rookie Donald Young in the fourth round later this week.
Lopez’s main weapon is his serve – or so they said. He served at a dreadful rate of 21% first serves in during the first set meaning Murray broke easily in the second game. Adding to that, Murray didn’t even lose a point on his own serve in the set.
Going against his reputation as a counter-puncher, Murray constantly seized the initiative which Lopez’s poor court coverage gave him. An embarrassing 15 unforced errors from Lopez in the first set tells its own story. Read more (286 words)
The second set showed signs of a more competitive animal though. Lopez held to love early and even wriggled away from a break point with a 133 mph serve. However, the gulf in class between the two – particularly in margins for error – began to emerge, not forgetting Murray’s formidable five wins from five against the Spaniard.
Quite frankly, Lopez’s serving was not good enough, the touch shots were too deep, and the unforced error count was swelling at an alarming rate – he hit 44 during a tough night. True to form, a seventh double fault brought Murray the break he craved. Lopez’s volleying spiralled into disarray in the following game and two errors from the Madrid native gave Murray the second set 6-4.
With a two set cushion to rest on, Murray commanded from the baseline and Lopez, credit to him, tried to attack and vary his approach. But Murray, world number four and a finalist here in 2008, pounced upon Lopez’s frequent errors with glee and authority.
A few typically misjudged Lopez volleys left Murray with a virtually unassailable 5-2 lead. He held to take the final set 6-2 despite stumbling to 0-30 when Lopez perked up for a moment.
Murray was wholly convincing and on the indication of this, the signs are ominous for Young. Facing just two break points all match, Murray hit 25 winners and experimented with keeping points shorter.
Like so often, it is difficult to gauge where Murray is after this, but he always orchestrated play to his own desires and coped well with swirling winds. The Dunblane native signalled his intentions here. Can Djokovic and co do the same as the draw whittles down?