Andy Murray received a big confidence boost as he claimed a solid win over Francisco Cerundolo in the opening round at the US Open, but the former world No 1 admits he struggled by the end of the match.
For the first time since the 2016 US Open, Murray won a match in straight sets at Flushing Meadows as he overcame an early wobble to see off the 24th seed on Monday morning.
In further good news for the three-time Grand Slam winner, there were no obvious signs of the cramping problems that have troubled him in recent matches although he did look quite weary during the closing stages of his 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 win in two hours and 43 minutes on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Andy Murray roaring into Round 2!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 29, 2022
Murray made a nightmare start as he was broken in the first game of the match, but Cerundolo’s joy was short-lived as the Scot hit back immediately and a second break saw him open a 4-1 lead.
Finding himself serving to stay in the match at 5-3, Cerundolo produced some brilliant sportsmanship as there was an argument from Murray that he played a ball on the double bounce.
The chair umpire ruled in the Argentine’s favour, but after replays on the big screen showed it bounced twice, Cerundolo indicated to the umpire to hand the point to Murray, much to the delight of the crowd while Murray also gave him the thumbs up.
Cerundolo then broke back and another hold saw back on level terms at 5-5, but after Murray held to love, the Scot came out and broke to take the first set.
It was one-way traffic after that as Murray raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set and, although Cerundolo got one break back, he eventually served out the set.
The third set also started with a break for Murray and he got an insurance policy in game five, but again he failed to close out the set as Cerundolo broke.
But a poor service game from the Argentine saw Murray race into a 0-40 lead and he eventually closed it out on his third match point.
Up next for Murray is either John Millman from Australia or American wildcard Emilio Nava while he is projected to meet 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in the third round.
“That felt like five sets to me, very, very tricky conditions – humid and hot. I was really happy with the way I got through that one. It was not easy as he [Cerundolo] has had a brilliant year, but I am glad I got through it,” he said during his post-match interview.
Andy Murray casts his mind back to 2012 US Open and his Grand Slam breakthrough
This year marks the 10th anniversary of his maiden Grand Slam win at Flushing Meadows, but felt like “ages ago” for the 35-year-old.
“It seems like a long time ago. A lot has happened since then. It feels like a really long time ago,” he added.
On-court coaching is allowed this year for the first time and Murray was pleased to have Ivan Lendl back in his box.
“He’s a man of few words. He wasn’t saying loads but to have him there supporting me is really important,” he said. “He’s still there supporting me at this stage in my career when many people wouldn’t.”
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