Murray plays down US Open chances

Murray plays down US Open chances

Andy Murray thinks little should be read into his chances of winning the US Open from his performance in his first-round victory over Russia’s Alex Bogomolov last night.

The scoreline was a straightforward 6-2 6-4 6-1 but the match itself was anything but, with breaks of serve aplenty and, by the time Murray clinched victory after two hours and 15 minutes, he had begun to struggle with cramp in the hot and humid conditions.

The wins over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer that brought the Scot an Olympic gold medal three weeks ago have made him the pick of many pundits to break his grand slam duck in New York, but he will certainly need to up his game.

Murray said: “Sometimes I’ve played great at the start of tournaments and not done well, sometimes I’ve played badly and got better.

“In Australia this year I struggled in my first-round match with my game a bit. Physically I didn’t feel great. Then I went on to have a good tournament.

“First round matches are tricky. The conditions were hard for both of us. That’s probably why it was quite an up-and-down match.”

Murray’s struggles stemmed from his serve. He got only 49% of his first serves in, and for much of the first two sets it was around 30%.

The third seed lost his first two service games but broke Bogomolov, ranked 73rd, each of the four times he served in the opening set, and then fought back from a break down to win the second.

Murray eventually ran away with the third but not before he had dropped his serve for a fourth time, and he will hope to put in a more consistent performance against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in the second round.

Laura Robson joined Murray in the second round after a 6-3 7-6 (8/6) victory over fellow teenager Samantha Crawford in a hard-hitting contest.

The 18-year-old next faces three-time champion Kim Clijsters, who will retire after the tournament, but Heather Watson did not make it past the first round as she fell to in-form ninth seed Li Na 6-2 6-3.

There were no major upsets on a first day of action delayed by an afternoon thunderstorm, with Clijsters, top seeds Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and defending champion Sam Stosur all claiming straight-sets wins.

Later today, British duo Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta will attempt to join Murray and Robson in the second round.

Keothavong has a very tough task against sixth seed Angelique Kerber, whose rise up the rankings began with a run to the semi-finals here last year, while qualifier Konta meets Hungary’s Timea Babos.

Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska opens proceedings on Arthur Ashe against Russia’s Nina Bratchikova, while Venus and Serena Williams, Andy Roddick and Djokovic are also in action.

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