Second round delight for Andy Murray

By Jake Davies

  • Andy Murray [2] defeats Marcel Granollers 6-4 6-1 6-4.
  • Murray will play Paolo Lorenzi in the third round on Saturday.
NEW YORK, USA – Andy Murray had his first day match under the new roof on Arthur Ashe stadium against Marcel Granollers, and Dan Evans overcame a zesty Alexander Zverev to advance to the US Open third round.

 

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Andy Murray [2] defeats Marcel Granollers 6-4 6-1 6-4

Murray survived some inspired tennis from his Spanish opponent Granollers on his way to the third round of the US Open. The World No.2 Murray, who had a 6-1 H2H advantage over the Spaniard, fought against a number of variables that nearly derailed his progress under the new Arthur Ashe roof.

The Briton handled the noise of the rain thudding against the new roof, the sound of the spectators and a flurry of winners from his opponent in order to get the win. From the beginning, Murray was playing positive tennis, but it was the change in tactics from Granollers that really changed the course of this match.

Granollers realised that a baseline to baseline battle with one of the very best baseline executors wasn’t going to cut it in this second round encounter. In a bid to save the first set, he started racing towards the net to end the points on his terms, and forcing Murray to come up with the magnificent to win the set.

Granollers was playing well above his ranked of No.45 in the world as his late barrage of attacking tennis ultimately prolonged the set for a further 20 minutes in the final two games alone. Murray required seven set points and finished the set with a sublime forehand passing shot at the end of his range.

When Granollers played his tennis from the forecourt it pushed Murray out of his comfort zone. Unfortunately for Granollers, he reverted back to his previous game plan and after missing out on break points at the beginning of the 2nd, it became a more straight forward match up for the three-time grand slam winner.

The only real worrying signs was the first serve percentage for Murray. His second serve held up well under the pressure of a grand slam match, which on the contrary, is very positive considering the issues he has had with his second serve in previous years.

 

Andy Murray [2] vs Paolo Lorenzi H2H: Murray leads 1-0

Italian Lorenzi is Murray’s third round opponent. Murray’s draw opened up considerably after Lorenzi knocked out No.30 seed Gilles Simon in a near 5 hour epic that was concluded in a fifth set tiebreak.

Lorenzi has had a fantastic 2016, winning his first ATP title at the age of 34 in Kitzbuhel, but Lorenzi is a much more effective player on the red clay. He constructs his points like a typical clay courter and will not overbear Murray with an abundance of power, which should prove to be a comfortable proposition for the British No.1

Most of Lorenzi’s success is on the Challenger Circuit, and he has found it difficult to convert meaningful match wins against Top 80 opponents on the regular ATP tour – the only real exception came in Quito where he beat No.20 ranked Bernard Tomic earlier this year.

The fact that Lorenzi does not have major weaponry to push Murray backwards means that Murray will have a lot of the points on his terms.

Prediction: Murray in straight sets.

 

Dan Evans defeats Alexander Zverev [27] 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-2

Evans played some superb and brave tennis to outlast Zverev late into the night on Day 4 of the US Open. The inexperience of a young Zverev was emphasised in some of the pressurised moments of the second round of a major as he lost his way in a four sets defeat to the Briton.

The ferocity of Evans’ forehand brought about continuous opportunities to get his opponent backtracking behind the baseline. Some of Zverev’s major limitations were blatantly obvious to see, with his forehand refusing to hold up under the brutal examination of Dan Evans.

At times it was a feisty affair between the two players, who exchanged words on a number of occasions in between service points. The umpire had several heated discussions with the fiery German talent Zverev too, as he complained over controversial line calls.

Evans showed nothing but positive body language throughout the match and looked dialled in from start to finish.

 

Dan Evans vs Stan Wawrinka [3]

Evans has never reached the second week of a major. If he wants to accomplish that, he will have to beat the No.3 seed Stan Wawrinka, who has the pedigree to blast any player off a court with his explosive groundstrokes.

Evans’ biggest career win came against Kei Nishikori in the first round of the 2013 US Open. In that tournament, Evans made the third round coming from qualifying, now his ranking is high enough to start in the main draw – this shows the impressive progress that the Brit has made particularly in 2016.

It would be an enormous upset if Evans found a way to beat Wawrinka, but Evans will acknowledge that Wawrinka will have his high and low moments during this third round battle – that is just the nature of Wawrinka’s game.

If Evans can vary the pace on his backhand by incorporating the slice, and by avoiding giving Wawrinka the same type of ball to the backhand, then I can see Evans potentially stealing a set. Wawrinka is the heavy favourite though.

Prediction: Wawrinka in straight sets.

The positivity surrounding British tennis cannot be understated and it is evident by the results of both the British men and women during the first week of the US Open. Kyle Edmund, Evans and Murray all making the third round, Johanna Konta still flying the flag in the women’s draw and Naomi Broady putting up a respectable fight against Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.

 

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