By Ros Satar

  • Andy Murray def. James Duckworth 7-6(5) 6-3 7-5 6-3
  • Although he has a 13-2 record over Fernando Verdasco, he is taking one match at a time (record includes challengers)
NEW YORK, USA – Andy Murray won his first Grand Slam match since Wimbledon, but faces Fernando Verdasco next, so cannot expect an easy match.

 

Andy Murray def. James Duckworth 7-6(5) 6-3 7-5 6-3

It was much anticipated, and it did not disappoint, as Andy Murray finally took to the court for a best of five set match in his first round encounter in New York. In what really was a battle of the injuries as his opponent James Duckworth had also been through the wringer with multiple surgeries before making his own return to the tour.

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Duckworth most certainly came to play – the first break points came to the Aussie as he put Murray under pressure with two break point chances. Murray could not convert on his first chance in the middle of the set, and perhaps more frustratingly he could not make good on two set points, as Duckworth forced a tiebreak.

Murray was visibly frustrated as Duckworth took charge as the momentum swung his way to give the Aussie a one set lead. Experience maybe came to play a little more, as he broke early at the start of the third set, and saw four other break point chances go begging, before breaking to level the match.

There was absolutely no quarter given in the third set with no break points at all until the final game, with Murray breaking for a 2-1 lead. Although there was a brief flurry of resistance by Duckworth who broke at the start of the fourth set, Murray broke him twice, losing his own serve the next time around before finally getting what proved to be the decisive break for enough of a lead to close out the match,

In his column for BBC Sport, Murray said: “I played some good stuff, although spending three hours and 17 minutes on court was more than I would have liked.

“In the fourth set I made things a bit harder than I needed to and I also had a chance to close out the first set.”

 

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Murray v Fernando Verdasco [31] | H2H: Murray leads 13-2

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Ordinarily we would look at a head to head like that and feel relatively comfortable that this would be a match we could expect Murray to win. However, few can forget the year Murray won Wimbledon where tricky leftie Fernando Verdasco took the first two sets off the Brit leaving him with it all to do to keep that Wimbledon dream alive.

Verdasco is comfortable on any surface you put him on, and has a forehand that can do a lot of damage, especially with the amount of topspin he can put on it. However, his lead p to the US Open was quote mediocre and he is renowned for being able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Murray will have to work for this win too.

He continued in his column: “He will certainly test my movement, that’s for sure. He has got a huge forehand and can do whatever he wants with that shot. He can hit angles, he can flatten out, higher balls.

“He is never an easy guy to play against if he’s on his game. It’s my job in that match to stop him dictating and hopefully I can be a bit more offensive and keep him on the back foot.

“Before the tournament I said I wasn’t expecting to go far and I don’t think anything changes after beating James. I’m still taking it one match at a time, but it’s great being back playing.”

Murray & Verdasco are scheduled on Arthur Ashe Court, not before 1:30pm (6:30pm BST)

 

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