Andy Murray had an uncomfortable time once again on Flushing Meadows’ Louis Armstrong court before seeing off Leonardo Mayer to reach the third round of the US Open in the early hours of this morning.
The Scot has often played well below his best in the tight surroundings of the tournament’s second court and it was the same here as he was given a torrid time by Argentine Mayer before digging out a 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 victory.
After losing the third set, it looked like it could be very uncomfortable indeed for Murray, but he eventually pulled away to set up a last-32 meeting with another Mayer, Germany’s Florian.
The crowd, keen to see a dramatic finish and impressed by Mayer’s fortitude, were right behind the world No,81, who headed off for a change of clothes before the start of the fourth set.
Murray was almost overwhelmed with frustration and roared as a glimpse of an opening in the second game disappeared into the net.
But the break did come two games later, to love, with Murray letting out a huge yell of ‘come on’ as Mayer’s backhand flew out.
That proved to be the crucial moment, with Mayer failing to win another game as Murray clinched victory in two hours and 41 minutes.
It looked like Murray was on his way to a comfortable victory, but there was a twist at the start of the third when the Scot found himself in trouble at 0-40 in the second game, and Mayer took his third chance with a drilled off forehand. The Argentine’s forehand had been the most impressive shot in the opening set, and the unexpected lift put an extra bit of zip back in it.
Murray was chuntering away to himself, and he was nearly 5-1 down but this time clawed his way back from 0-40 to hold.
He was still well in the set, and in the next game it was Mayer under pressure, but the Argentine impressively withstood two break points to leave himself one game away from the set.
Serving it out 6-3 he was nerveless, beginning the game with two aces – the second after a successful challenge to HawkEye – and clinching it to love when Murray put a backhand long.
It was a big blow to Mayer’s hopes, and Murray asserted his authority with an immediate break at the start of the second set.
The Scot looked a lot more confident and relaxed, and Mayer was making a lot more errors than he did in the opener.
Murray was playing well, though, and moving well, and Mayer’s forays to the net became less and less successful.
The Scot broke again in the sixth game and served it out easily 6-1, winning the final point with a forehand put-away.
Murray had been given a tough time for almost an hour before clinching the first set 7-5.
The Scot was the one in most trouble on his serve in the early stages but a poor game from his Argentinian opponent gave the set to him 7-5.
After his late-night start on Wednesday, Murray was sent out to Louis Armstrong for Friday evening’s match in New York. Mayer was born on the same day as Murray but their tennis careers have been very different.