Andy Murray of Great Britain returns the ball to Florian Mayer of Germany in the third-round action at the US Open Championship held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, yesterday.
NEW YORK: Defending champion Andy Murray made light of the heavy, humid New York conditions yesterday to breeze into the US Open last 16, where he was joined by Tomas Berdych and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Third-seeded Murray, who ended his country’s 76-wait for a Grand Slam men’s champion when he won his maiden major title in New York last year, eased past Germany’s world number 49 Florian Mayer, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-2.
His win was built on an impressive 42 winners and seven aces.
“I think I need to start my matches quicker than I have been doing. I am not that fast out of the blocks,” said the 26-year-old. “But once I got going I was striking the ball cleanly.”
Murray, the reigning Olympic and Wimbledon champion, will face either Italian 20th seed Andreas Seppi or Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Scot leads Seppi 5-1 in their career match-ups, with the Italian’s only win coming in their first meeting on grass in Nottingham in 2006.
Murray defeated Istomin, the world number 65, in their only match in the quarter-finals at Brisbane in January this year.
Berdych and Wawrinka will clash for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Fifth seed Berdych, who defeated five-time winner Roger Federer on his way to the semi-finals last year, eased past French 31st seed Julien Benneteau, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2. Swiss ninth seed Wawrinka, a quarter-finalist in 2010, got past unseeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, the former world number eight but now down at 53 in the world, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (9/7).
Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up, has now lost all three meetings with Wawrinka.
The bearded Cypriot saved four match points before falling in a big-hitting clash on Louis Armstrong Stadium, which saw a total of 100 winners unleashed.
Berdych hit 36 winners and 11 aces in the contest, which finished six minutes short of two hours.
“It was a bit hot, a bit humid, but otherwise the tennis was good,” said Berdych, who has made the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year.
“I managed to stay focused from the first point until the last. There were no ups and downs, just took all my chances that I had, and won in straight sets.”
Wawrinka has a 6-5 career lead over former Wimbledon finalist Berdych, having won their last meeting on clay in the Madrid Masters semi-finals this year.