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Murray motors as Roddick crashes

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Originally published on: 02/09/10 09:53

Andy Murray’s bid to land a first Grand Slam title at this year’s US Open is off to a fine start after the Scot overwhelmed world No.71 Lukas Lacko 6-3 6-2 6-2 to book his spot in the second round.

But there were shock defeats for Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych and former champion Andy Roddick on a day of high drama at Flushing Meadows.

Playing in the early afternoon on another scorching day in what is shaping up to be one of the hottest New York summers on record, Murray fired eight aces and slotted 37 winners as he cruised to victory against his Slovakian opponent in a little under two hours.

“I feel like I’m playing well,” Murray said. “But I need to try and keep that level up if I want to win the tournament.”

The 23-year-old claimed his first title of 2010 last month at the Rogers Cup, beating Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer back to back to defend his crown, a huge boost to his confidence during a season punctuated with highs and lows, both on and off-court.

“Toronto was a big boost for me, to win against Roger and Rafa. I feel good,” he added. “I need to keep that up. I need to play my best.”

Up next for Murray is Dustin Brown, the Jamaican chasing a potential spot as a future British Davis Cup teammate of the world No.4, who overcame Spain’s Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-4 7-6(6) 7-5.

Brown joked that he was expecting “a tough one, probably,” against Murray. “I’m gonna definitely play my type of tennis, play aggressive, try to keep the points short. I’ve seen that he’s a very good returner, so I’ll have to see how it works out, how I’m serving, if it’s possible to play serve and volley or have to play from the baseline.”

No.7 seed Tomas Berdych paid the price for letting three break point opportunities pass him by in a 7-6(3) 6-4 6-4 defeat at the hands of Michael Llodra in what always promised to be a tough encounter.

The world No.35 is the highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw and enjoying a strong season, arriving in New York with two titles under his belt in 2010.

“I felt confident. I felt good,” said Berdych, who had been in Murray’s section of the draw. “I just didn’t get a chance to play my tennis. I don’t even know if I played well or not. I didn’t even see what to do differently or better. There was no chance to get a rhythm.”

In the day’s final match, 2003 US Open champion and American No.1 Andy Roddick slumped to a 3-6 7-5 6-3 7-6(4) second-round defeat at the hands of Janko Tipsarevic.

The Serb, through to the third round for the first time, fired 66 winners in a performance that Roddick conceded was “too good.”

“He played very high risk and executed for four sets,” said Roddick, who engaged in an angry exchange with a line judge over a foot fault in the third set. “I kept telling myself, ‘This has to have an expiration date on it.’ I think I needed another set for that.”

Roddick dismissed claims that a recent bout of mononucleosis played a part in the defeat.

“I feel fine. There’s nothing there. I’m not going to talk about it because I lost it. It was frustrating but at the same time I was just trying to make him keep coming up with it. He was able to do it.”

Tipsarevic, who also ousted Roddick on his way to a career-best fourth round appearance at Wimbledon in 2008, will face Gael Monfils for a spot in the fourth round, the Frenchman celebrating his 24th birthday with a 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory over Igor Andreev.

There was better news for US tennis fans earlier on day 3 as rising star Ryan Harrison ousted Ivan Ljubicic 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 6-4, the Croatian’s torrid run at the Open stretched into another season.

The 18-year-old, now set to become the youngest player in the world’s top 200 after the tournament, is the first American teen to beat a top-20 player since Roddick beat Alex Corretja in 2001.

“I struggled with the heat,” conceded Ljubicic, who has never progressed beyond the third round in New York. “I can’t move. It gets to me really quick.”

There were also opening wins for Sam Querrey, who saw off compatriot Bradley Klahn 6-3 4-6 7-5 6-4, and John Isner, a 6-4 6-3 6-4 victor over Portugal’s Frederico Gil just a fortnight after suffering an ankle injury that threatened to leave him sidelined for the year’s last major.

“It felt great,” Isner said. “I took a four to six-week injury and got it ready in two weeks. I was incredibly fortunate.”

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