CINCINNATI: World number two Andy Murray got his North American hardcourt campaign back on track with a 6-2 6-3 dissection of Mikhail Youzhny yesterday to reach the last 16 of the Cincinnati Masters.
Murray, who had a slow start to the hardcourt season with a third round loss in Montreal last week, arrived in Cincinnati eager to get in matches ahead of the August 26-September 9 US Open, where he will arrive as a defending Grand Slam champion for the first time.
The Cincinnati hardcourts, where the 26-year-old Scot has twice been crowned champion, proved a perfect spot to build some momentum and Youzhny the perfect opponent as the Wimbledon champion ran his record to 4-0 against the Russian.
On a sunny morning on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Murray got off to a bright start, twice breaking Youzhny to storm into a 4-0 lead before wrapping up the first set in 34 minutes.
Murray broke his 31-year-old opponent again to open the second and, with the exception of a small hiccup when Youzhny broke at 4-2, rolled into the third round and a meeting with Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
“I had good anticipation so I was able to chase a lot of balls down and today I managed to get a lot of balls back,” said Murray, winner of four titles this season.
Elsewhere, top seed Serena Williams survived a scare but advanced courtesy of a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over qualifier Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.
In other morning matches, 11th seeded German Tommy Haas cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 win over Spain’s Marcel Granollers.