- US Open
Murray breezes past qualifier Bachinger
A three-day break appears to have done a world of good for Andy Murray, who outclassed German qualifier Matthias Bachinger 6-3 6-3 6-4 to ease into a third-round showdown with Andrey Kuznetsov at the US Open.
In the cool, blustery conditions of an Arthur Ashe night session, Murray showed no ill effects of the cramp that blighted his first-round win over Robin Haase as he moved smoothly through the gears, proving too quick-witted and fleet of foot for the German world No.235 during the one-hour 46-minute contest.
"I hope I feel better every day now," said Murray, who produced 36 winners in the second-round encounter. "I felt fine the last couple days, had no problems on the Tuesday or Wednesday. I practiced well and didn't have any problem. Tonight was fine, too.
"It was extremely windy today, that was the hardest part about the conditions - difficult to play sort of close to the lines or anything like that. But I hit the ball well considering, served better, and I moved a bit better today, as well."
The match got off to a low-key start, both men holding comfortably and rarely rallying for more than a handful of shots at a time. Bachinger, who stunned Radek Stepanek in straight sets to set up the clash with Murray, played his best tennis around the net behind a serve that peaked at 131mph.
Murray was happy to engage in some cat-and-mouse around the court as both men adjusted to the conditions and set up his first break of the match with a deft lob to move 15-30 up at 4-3. Bachinger tightened and sent two forehands sailing beyond the baseline to leave Murray to serve for the opener.
The 2012 champion surged clear at the start of the second, coming in behind a string of fine forehands to break before producing a drop-shot so heavily laden with spin it rolled back down the court towards him. Bachinger worked hard to contain Murray without threatening but was broken once more when serving to stay in the set at 5-3. His fall after jamming his toe on set point summed up his experience on Arthur Ashe - outthought, outmanoeuvred and laid low by Murray's dynamism.
With winds whipping around the court in the third, Murray served his way out of trouble from 0-40 down at 2-2 only to return the favour in the eighth game as five break points went begging. It was a brief reprieve for the German, however, before Murray sealed victory with a break to love.
"I don't mind playing in the wind, I like it," said Murray, who thrived as Bachinger was driven to distraction by the conditions in the latter stages of the match, a stark contrast to the Scot staggering to victory in the first round. "You have to play slightly different tennis than usual, but I've always enjoyed it. I grew up playing in the wind a lot. I don't have a problem with it.
"Monday was very, very hot, humid conditions. And tonight, it was pretty cool at the end - extremely windy, different court. Each day in tennis things change, so you've just got to move on, trust the work that you've done, get ready for the next match."
Next up for Murray is Russian world No.96 Kuznetsov, who claimed his second high-profile Spanish scalp of the summer with a five-set victory over Fernando Verdasco. The 23-year-old, who has played primarily on the Challenger circuit in 2014, beat David Ferrer to reach the third round at the All England Club in June.
"I've never played him before," Murray said. "I don't know his game that well, but I've seen him play a little bit. He hits the ball pretty flat, likes to go for his shots a lot. This court's fairly quick, so that will probably help him."