US Open: Nervous Murray grinds out win
Andy Murray recovered from a poor start to defeat Somdev Devvarman 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 6-3 in his first-round match at the US Open in New York last night.
The world number four dropped his opening service game and then trailed early in the first-set tie-break but he pulled through and from then on there was only going to be one winner.
In round two Murray will face big-hitting Dutchman Robin Haase, who has won their only previous meeting and could prove to be a tricky opponent for the Scot.
Murray admitted nerves contributed to his unconvincing start.
“I thought the second and third sets were good,” he said.
“I was nervous at the start and I think that showed. I got off to a bit of a slow start.
“Once I managed to play a bit closer to the baseline I started to dictate a lot of the points. It's very breezy out on court.”
On next opponent Haase, he added: “Tough match. He's a tough player, he nearly beat Rafa (Nadal) at Wimbledon a few years ago. He likes playing big matches.”
Murray and Devvarman were meeting for the first time but the British number one had an insight into the Indian's game from friend Dani Vallverdu, who is a key part of the 24-year-old's coaching team and who faced Devvarman in college tennis in the US.
The 26-year-old is ranked 64th in the world and is yet to pull up any trees on the ATP World Tour but he made a very positive start and immediately put Murray under pressure on his serve, forcing his opponent to battle back from 0-40 and then taking a fourth break point.
The Scot is often a slow starter, though, and any concern that the first set might slip away from him were allayed when he broke back at the third time of asking in the sixth game.
It was an entertaining contest, with Devvarman eager to come to the net while Murray was timing the ball well on his groundstrokes.
The fourth seed would have been frustrated not to finish off the set before the tie-break after having openings in a number of Devvarman service games.
Murray made the perfect start to the second set with a break in the opening game and the world number four was clearly in the ascendancy now.
Devvarman's chance looked to have well and truly gone and Murray made it four games in a row with a second successive break before serving out the set.
Murray missed a match point serving at 5-2 and was promptly broken. It was only temporary, though, Murray sealing victory on his next opportunity.
Meanwhile, Irishman Louk Sorensen was forced to retire at the start of the fourth set of his first round match with Rogerio Dutra da Silva. The Brazilian led 6-0 3-6 6-4 1-0 when Sorenesen retired hurt due to cramp.
Sorensen’s exit came 24 hours after fellow Irishman Conor Niland had to retire in the middle of his match with world number one Novak Djokovic.
Sorensen's run in New York has made him rethink his retirement, and he is hoping to play Davis Cup again for Ireland.
He said: “Now I have to think about it. I really want to keep playing. But I had so many injuries and after a certain time you just can't deal with it any more.”