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Andy Murray glad to sound out his intent at the US Open

By Paul Newman

Whether he has been playing amid the respectful calm of the All England Club, in the patriotic fervour of Rio or the noise and chaos of Flushing Meadows, the outcome has been pretty much the same for Andy Murray.

The Wimbledon and Olympic champion began his quest to round off a sensational summer with his second US Open title in characteristic fashion in the night session on day two of the year's concluding Grand Slam.

The Scot beat the Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol 6-3 6-2 6-2 in just an hour and 52 minutes with a performance that was every bit as convincing as the scoreline suggested.

Rosol was competitive for five games, but once Murray converted his third break point to go 4-2 up the result was never in doubt.

Just as he was at Wimbledon and the Olympics, the 29-year-old Scot looked every inch a man in charge of his own destiny. For all his on-court scowling, his running conversations with nobody in particular and his gesturing and shouting in the general direction of his entourage, the World No.2 usually does a wonderful job of staying focused.

Some players find that difficult in the unique atmosphere in the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Compared with Centre Court, the 24,000-capacity arena is a cauldron of noise - even during points.

With the sound captured more than ever by the new retractable roof - or at least, on this warm and dry evening, by the rigid part of the structure - the match was played to a constant background hum.

"It's quite different now," Murray said afterwards. "It's a lot louder than most places that we play, so you don't hear the ball as much. There's a different sound."

As is so often the case here, spectators regularly walked in and out at times other than the change of ends. At one stage a bemused Murray had to delay his serve as a group of spectators changed seats just behind him.

Even at the changeovers it must have been hard to concentrate as the crowd roared whenever the cameras picked out famous faces. Andre Agassi and Kevin Spacey received huge cheers, but the warmest applause was for David Dinkins, the former mayor of New York, and his wife, Joyce, who were celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Murray, though, was on his game from the start. The Scot, who has reached the final of his last seven tournaments during the best run of his career, served well and did not have to defend a single break point.

Rosol saved three set points from 0-40 down at 3-5 in the opening set, but faded quickly thereafter. Murray quickly took a 4-0 lead in the second set and went on to win the last four games in the third.

"I served very well," Murray said. "I used good variation on the second serve. My first and second serve were very good. That's something that I worked on a lot.

"It was extremely humid, which makes it a little easier to control the ball. The court is obviously cooler (than in the day), so it's staying a little bit lower.

"Now, because of the roof, there's no wind. It almost has a feel of playing indoors. The conditions are perfect."

With Dan Evans beating Rajeev Ram earlier in the day following Kyle Edmund's victory over Richard Gasquet on Monday, Britain has three men through to the second round, plus Johanna Konta and Naomi Broady on the women's side.

It is the first time Britain has had five players in the second round since Jo Durie, Anne Hobbs, Sara Gomer, Annabel Croft and Andrew Castle all cleared the first hurdle in 1987.

Murray next plays Marcel Granollers, the World No.45, who beat Juan Monaco 7-6 7-6 6-4. Murray has won his last four matches against the 30-year-old Spaniard without dropping a set.

Aljaz Bedene was unable to join his compatriots in the second round as Nick Kyrgios turned on the style.

The Australian won 6-4 6-4 6-4 despite being handed a code violation by the umpire in the first game after hitting a ball away that nearly hit a line judge.

Ivo Karlovic set a US Open record when he hit 61 aces in a 4-6 7-6 6-7 7-6 7-5 victory over Yen-Hsun Lu, of Taiwan. Richard Krajicek previously held the record with 49 aces in a quarter-final in 1999.

Belfast Telegraph


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