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Andy Murray still in with big shout as bid gathers pace amid din

By Tom Allnutt

Andy Murray had to play through a deafening downpour on his way to victory over Marcel Granollers and a place in the US Open third round.

Murray's match was put under the $150million roof in Arthur Ashe Stadium but a combination of echoing chatter and torrential rain outside still made conditions a challenge.

The British number one, however, wavered only momentarily as he beat Granollers 6-4 6-1 6-4 to book his place in round three. He will now face either France's Gilles Simon or Italian Paolo Lorenzi.

This was not a vintage Murray performance. He made 28 unforced errors and his first serve only landed 43 per cent of the time, but another straight-sets win will preserve energy for sterner tests to come.

There was also the challenge of playing under the roof, which amplified an already noisy New York crowd and for a while caused a clattering din as the rain poured down.

"At first we didn't know if there was just more people coming in at the change of ends, but then we quickly realised it was the rain," Murray said.

"It was tough, you couldn't really hear the ball which makes it tricky. But we're lucky to play under the roof; otherwise there wouldn't be any tennis so it's good for everyone."

Murray had won his last four meetings against Granollers and only lost twice in nine, but the emphatic score-line was harsh on the world number 45, who was particularly threatening at the end of the first set.

Two games, lasting 23 minutes, had Murray scrambling but the Scot survived and never looked back thereafter.

"It was tough obviously, had it gone to 5-5 then the first set becomes a really tough one and all the pressure is on me at the end of that set," Murray said.

"Thankfully I got through that 5-4 game and the momentum was back with me."

Murray barely broke sweat in the early stages as he coasted into a 3-0 and then 5-2 lead.

The Briton's level of comfort was best summed up when he nonchalantly patted up a lob after assuming a forehand was out, only for Granollers to lash the smash long off his frame.

Whether Murray's concentration drifted, however, or his opponent found his rhythm, there was a change of momentum at the end of the set as Murray struggled to close out.

Granollers pulled one break back after Murray played a lengthy game littered with unforced errors and the Spaniard could have levelled at 5-5 had he been more clinical.

Instead, Murray broke, raising his game to convert a seventh set point as he punched back Granollers' serve, chased down his drop-volley before flicking the ball cross-court for a winner.

Granollers later opened up two break points but the battling Murray saved both and as the rain, and noise, gradually eased, it was one-way traffic from then on in.

Meanwhile, World No.6 Venus Williams advanced to the third round of the ladies' singles after she defeated World No.64 Julia Goerges of Germany in a comfortable straight sets victory, 6-2 6-3.

Belfast Telegraph


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