By Jake Davies
- Andy Murray  defeats Lukas Rosol 6-3 6-2 6-2
- Murray’s next adversary will be Spain’s Marcel Granollers in Round 2.
- Dan Evans makes the second round; Bedene crashes out early.
NEW YORK, USA – Andy Murray made it five Brits into round two of the US Open with a comfortable straight sets win, after Dan Evans beat American wildcard Rajeev Ram earlier in the day.
Andy Murray  defeats Lukas Rosol 6-3 6-2 6-2
Murray continued his fine 2016 season with a comprehensive shutout of Rosol in the first round of the US Open. The two-time Wimbledon champion handled the Czech’s powerful, heavy game in straight sets, as he rebounded well from the loss in Cincinnati to Marin Cilic.
Rosol found it extremely hard to deal with the questions that Murray was putting forward for large periods of this match. The Czech, who blasted Rafael Nadal off the court in Wimbledon 2012, could not handle the continuous defensive retrievals that Murray somehow kept returning.
The first fifteen minutes were incredibly competitive. Rosol had early opportunities at 0-30 in the first game of the match and several more chances in the second Murray service game. But the World No.81 could not generate a single break point on the Murray serve throughout the whole contest on Arthur Ashe stadium.
The match demonstrated why the game really has moved into a new era of baseline tennis and, to a certain extent, has meant the players that choose to serve and volley are now a rare breed. When great baseline players like Murray feel so comfortable from the baseline, it makes it increasingly arduous for a serve and volleyer like Rosol to gain control of a match.
There was no looking back after Murray grasped the first break. Rosol’s shoulders slumped and Murray cruised to the second round, stretching his win-loss record to 51-7 for the year.
Andy Murray  vs Marcel Granollers – H2H: Murray leads 6-1
All fingers point in the direction that Murray is onto something rather special in the coming weeks. Another final in Flushing Meadows would mean he has made four consecutive Grand Slam finals in one year, which is an extremely tough feat in itself. The defence of Murray’s Olympic gold and now a potential second Davis Cup triumph in November suggests that this could be one of the most special individual years in tennis for any player.
The player who will be aiming to spoil the party is Spain’s Granollers. Just like Rosol, Granollers likes to make the most of his impressive touch at the net. Granollers likes to take matters into his own hands and will look to move away from the baseline in the majority of rallies. He hits with a lot of spin on the forehand, but that particular shot does vary from shot to shot.
Murray leads the H2H 6-1, with Granollers sole win coming on the clay courts of Rome on Murray’s birthday. It was a day to forget for Murray as he retired due to the back injury that had bothered him for quite some time before then.
The World No.2 will be the heavy favourite on a hard court however. Granollers predominantly plays his best tennis on a clay court, whereas Murray will feel in supreme condition to deal with the Spaniard quite handily on Thursday.
Prediction: Murray in 3 sets.
Dan Evans defeats Rajeev Ram 6-2 4-6 7-5 6-1
Great Britain’s Evans impressed in a four set win over the resurgent Ram in the first round of the US Open. It is an important stepping stone for Evans, who is starting to prove himself at this level of competition. In the past, we have seen many promising players attain Top 100 status but struggle to back up the big results that got them in the Top 100 in the first place – fellow British player James Ward is a prime example of just that.
Evans is starting to back up his ranking ascension and is now comfortably inside the World’s Top 70 – something that would have been scoffed at in previous years.
The British player, who resides in Birmingham, will now face rising star Alexander Zverev in the second round – a very talented German player who has also risen up the rankings in a hurry. Evans will be the considerable underdog in that match up as Zverev has made quite a name for himself on the ATP tour with some breathtaking performances against the very best players in the world.
Prediction: Zverev in four sets.
Nick Kyrgios  defeats Aljaz Bedene 6-4 6-4 6-4
Bedene crashed out of the first round despite a valiant effort against the volatile Kyrgios. The superior shotmaking and serving ability of Kyrgios was just too much for Bedene to withstand, and he eventually was beaten comfortably to the better player on the day.
It has been a difficult several months for Bedene. Firstly, he learned that he would not be eligible to compete for Great Britain at Davis Cup or the Olympics, and he also split with his longtime coach James Davidson earlier this year.
Now Bedene will have some time to regroup and prepare for the final stretch of the 2016 season.
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