Andy Murray started his US Open campaign on a positive note with a straight-set win over 24th-seeded Francisco Cerundolo in New York.
The 35-year-old entered the tournament after winning just one match on the North American hard courts and was worried about persistent cramps, but that proved relatively uncomplicated in wet conditions.
Argentina’s Cerundolo has won most of his ranking points on clay and Murray had to fight his way through many long rallies on his way to a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win, with the only real downside being missing serve all three sets.
It was the first time Murray had won a straight sets match at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon five years ago, and he said: “That felt like five sets to me. It’s very difficult conditions, very humid and hot. I was really happy with how I got through it, it wasn’t easy.”
Ten years after his first Grand Slam title and with Ivan Lendl back in his box, Murray remains optimistic he will have more Grand Slam days to remember.
On-court coaching is allowed for the first time this year, and Murray said of Lendl with a smile: “He’s a man of few words. He didn’t say much but having him there to support me is really important. He’s still there and supporting me at this point in my career where a lot of people wouldn’t.”
He hasn’t progressed past the second round at Flushing Meadows since 2016, but this was a nice draw. Still looking for his first main draw win at a Slam, Cerundolo is inexperienced on hard maps.
Murray got off to a shaky start, dropping his opening game at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the scene of some tortuous struggles for the Scot before it was rebuilt.
He immediately set about making sure this wasn’t another game, winning four straight games and looking poised to win the opener only to hold a terrible 5-3 at love.
He was furious in the next game as Cerundolo earned a point, although the ball appeared to bounce twice as he lunged to pick up a drop volley.
The referee was powerless to reverse his decision, but after two slow-motion replays on the big screen assisted Murray, Cerundolo sportingly awarded the point to his opponent – a gesture the Scot thanked him for after the match.
Cerundolo, who had lost all four of his previous matches against British players, held on before donating the set to his opponent with a double fault two games later.
Murray took a 5-0 lead in the second round before losing three straight games but the Scot was now essentially in full control and barring another failure to serve a set, he finished strongly.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/andy-murray-us-open-result-score-cerundolo-b2155182.html Andy Murray defeats 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo in the first round of the US Open