New York: Britain’s Andy Murray had less trouble reaching round three at the US Open on Wednesday than he has this week avoiding the New York paparazzi, who have been hanging on the Olympic champion’s every word.
The Scot stepped up a gear from his first-round match as he crushed world number 117 Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 under the lights at Flushing Meadows.
Since he won the gold medal at the London Olympics earlier this month, Murray has found himself centre of attention wherever he goes, including in New York.
“There have been a few people hanging around outside my hotel,” Murray said in a courtside interview.
“They asked me if I had seen the photographs of Prince Harry,” referring to the pictures in British tabloid newspapers of a naked Prince Harry in a Las Vegas hotel.
“I said ‘no comment’,” Murray laughed.
“Another one asked me what I thought about the Crown Jewels. It’s a little bit different to what I’m used to but it’s alright.”
In the first night match, third seed Maria Sharapova demolished Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0, 6-1.
I played well: Murray
Dodig can boast wins over Rafa Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but he was blown away by a rampant Murray, who raised his game from a scratchy opening-round display under the watchful eye of coach Ivan Lendl.
“I thought I played well,” Murray said. “There were a lot of long rallies and he moves extremely well. I moved my feet very well tonight and I played well.”
The Scot broke in the third game of the match and never looked back as he clinched a meeting with the winner of the all-Spanish battle between 30th seed Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Andujar.
Murray will now have two days off before his next match on Saturday but said the chance of him enjoying a bit of time off before then were somewhere between slim and none.
“With the coach I have, I’m sure I’ll be back on the practice court tomorrow,” he laughed. “I’ll try to do something tomorrow night.”
Azarenka, Stosur, Ferrer win
World number one Victoria Azarenka overpowered Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2 in 65 minutes in a blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium before defending champion Sam Stosur of Australia recorded a routine 6-3, 6-0 win over Edina Gallovits-Hall.
On the men’s side, fourth-seeded Ferrer stopped erratic South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 and big-serving American hope John Isner won a high-quality clash with Xavier Malisse 6-3, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6.
“A lot of people are projecting me to go far here but I wasn’t looking past this match,” the ninth-seeded Isner said.
“As you guys could see, I had my hands full. Got to a certain point there where it was anyone’s match.”
Isner said he hoped to be inspired rather than intimidated by reaching a single-figure ranking.
“I try not to feel the pressure of being a top-10 player,” he said. “As cliched as it is, you have to take it one at a time.
“I’m in a good place at this tournament right now. I’ve won a lot of matches since Wimbledon. I know in the nitty-gritty times of a match I always have that confidence and all those wins in my back pocket.”
Thirty-one-year-old wildcard Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 champion at Flushing Meadows, needed nearly three hours to defeat Germany’s Tobias Kamke 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 on Court 13.
Australian Hewitt will next face Gilles Muller, one of nine players to have recovered from the brink of defeat at two-sets down in the first round.
Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic joined the club by clawing to a 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Guillaume Rufin. Ernests Gulbis defeated 21st seed Tommy Haas 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 and Muller snuck home for a 2-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 defeat of 28th seed Mikhail Youzhny.
“I had to grind and suffer and do whatever was necessary to win,” Tipsarevic said.
Title threats Juan Martin del Potro, Petra Kvitova and Li Na all progressed with routine straight-sets victories.