Andy MURRAY was grateful for an evening free of drama as he cruised past Feliciano Lopez to reach the fourth round of the US Open under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The world No. 4 had to come from two sets down to defeat big-hitting Dutchman Robin Haase in round two but he could not have made a better start last night, winning the first 14 points and not dropping a point on his serve in a one-sided first set.
The second was much tighter, with Lopez, who Murray had dropped only one set to in five previous matches, finding some form but an untimely seventh double fault gave his opponent the crucial break in the ninth game and he eased to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Murray said: “It was better. They were very tough conditions at the start as well. It was pretty windy. I had to get the feet going early.
“When you can get an early break it can kind of set the tone for the rest of the match. Last night that was the case.
“And it was important because obviously, after having a long match the other day, especially playing late at night, if you don’t have to play a three or four-hour match (it’s much better) because it’s not that easy to recover.”
Murray also played left- hander Lopez in the quarter- finals at Wimbledon and the result was just as emphatic, with the Scot flourishing against his rival’s attacking game.
“He’s not an easy guy to play against,” said Murray of the 25th seed. “He makes it very difficult for guys because he comes up with big serves.
“He serve and volleys sometimes. He does make quite a few mistakes at times. But he just plays so different to anyone else nowadays.
“I’ve always quite enjoyed playing against guys that have come forward against me.”
Murray’s next opponent will be 22-year-old American wild card Donald Young, who, after years of unfulfilled expectations, has blossomed at Flushing Meadows this year. In the second round he knocked out Stanislas Wawrinka and yesterday he was a straight-sets winner over 24th seed Juan Ignacio Chela. Young beat Murray in Indian Wells in March during the 24-year-old’s post-Australian Open malaise and he knows it is a match he must be ready for.
He added: “It’s a big match for me because obviously of what happened earlier in the year.”