Murray defies soaring temperatures to cruise past Lacko

ANDY MURRAY yesterday defied “brutal conditions” to cruise into the second round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

Murray had to wait until the third day to play his first-round match against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, but needed just one hour and 51 minutes to complete a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

With the temperature in New York approaching 100 degrees – 10th seed Victoria Azarenka collapsed in the first set of her match with Gisela Dulko earlier – Murray was delighted to get through in straight sets against the world number 71.

“It was a lot tougher than the score suggests,” Murray said.

“Everyone in my box always tells me it’s a lot tougher watching in the heat than playing but I’m not so sure. It was brutal conditions.”

Azarenka was taken to hospital after collapsing on court during her match against Gisela Dulko.

Azarenka slumped to the ground while serving at 15-30 and 5-1 down on the Grandstand Court.

Medical staff rushed to treat the 21-year-old from Belarus, who was then taken off the court in a wheelchair.

Azarenka had appeared to be struggling as early as the third game of the match when she received treatment for an arm injury, but also looked to be suffering from blurred vision.

Meanwhile, former champion Venus Williams advanced to the third round after a straight sets victory over Canada’s Rebecca Marino.

Marino offered resistance in the first set, taking Williams to a tie-break but the American broke early in the second set on her to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 win.

Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic continued to show the sort of form which previously made her world number one as she cruised into the third round. Ivanovic dropped just five games in beating Ekaterina Makarova in the opening round and lost just three today as she thrashed China’s 21st seed Jie Zheng 6-3 6-0. Elsewhere, 20th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also advanced to the third round with a 6-2 6-4 win over India’s Sania Mirza.

Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych crashed out, losing in straight sets to France’s Michael Llodra.

Fifteenth seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia beaten in four sets by 18-year-old American qualifier Ryan Harrison.

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