US Open 2014: Andy Murray earns a third-round meeting with Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov
Scot triumphs 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 over Matthias Bachinger to reach third round
Andy Murray put the painful memory of his first-round travails behind him to ease past his next opponent here at the US Open. Murray, who had suffered severe cramps during his opening victory over Robin Haase, never looked in any discomfort as he brushed aside the challenge of Germany’s Matthias Bachinger. The 27-year-old Scot won 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to earn a third-round meeting with Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
If the heat had been a problem for Murray three days earlier, there was no chance of a repeat for his second match. It was another glorious day at Flushing Meadows, but by the time the players went on court just after 7pm the temperature had dropped to an agreeable 23C.
The only problem with the weather was the stiff breeze which swirled around Arthur Ashe Stadium. Controlling the ball was a challenge for both players, but Murray is particularly adept at mastering such conditions. He often used the wind to good effect, teasing Bachinger with clever lobs and drop shots.
While the main show court here has become a familiar and happy hunting ground for Murray, Bachinger’s only previous experience of the cavernous stadium had been a fleeting visit as a spectator. At the start, however, the arena was less than a quarter full and lacked the pulsating atmosphere which a large crowd can generate.
There were other respects in which Bachinger was in unfamiliar territory. The 27-year-old German, who plays most of his tennis on the Challenger tour, was competing in the second round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his life. The world No 235 had won three matches in qualifying to earn his place in the main draw here and beat Radek Stepanek with what he called the best performance of his career three days previously.
Murray has not won a title or beaten a top-10 player for more than a year, but was still much too good for an opponent he had last met in a junior competition 13 years ago. Bachinger, who likes to attack, hit some big ground strokes and tried to dominate the net, but the quality of Murray’s passing shots and lobs regularly had him at full stretch.
Murray was on his game from the start, although his opponent held firm until the middle of the first set. Bachinger’s serve had been a key weapon in his victory over Stepanek and he had little trouble holding it until the eighth game.
A wild forehand struck beyond the baseline gave Murray two break points and the Scot converted the second of them when Bachinger made another forehand error. Murray served out for the set, completing the job with an ace after just 26 minutes.
Murray drove home his advantage at the start of the second set, breaking immediately as he went on the attack. Bachinger, to his credit, gritted his teeth to remain in contention but was broken again when he served at 3-5. On set point the German fell heavily as he attempted a running forehand, which he put into the net.
The fall did not appear to cause any physical damage and indeed it was Bachinger who should have made the first breakthrough in the third set. Murray went 0-40 down at 2-2, but Bachinger netted a routine volley on his first break point, made an unforced backhand error on his second and was unable to return a volley on the third.
Bachinger went 0-40 down when he served at 3-4, recovered to deuce and successfully defended three more break points to level at 4-4. Two games later, however, Murray broke for the last time, completing his victory after an hour and 46 minutes when a thumping return forced Bachinger into a backhand error.
Murray said that he had had no physical problems. “The conditions help,” he said. “It’s nice and cool tonight. I struggled a lot in my first match.”
Kuznetsov, Murray’s next opponent, won a marathon against Fernando Verdasco, beating the Spaniard 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round here for the first time. The 23-year-old Russian, ranked No 96 in the world, is making only his second appearance in the main draw here, having lost in the first round to Dudi Sela on his debut last year.
Tommy Robredo, who has become a master of comeback Grand Slam victories, booked his place in the third round by beating Italy’s Simone Bolelli 5-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Nick Kyrgios, who beat Rafael Nadal en route to the Wimbledon quarter-finals, beat Andreas Seppi 6-4, 7-6, 6-4.