Murray defies the weather to sweep past Llodra at US Open
Storms delay defending champ, but he cruises into second round as Robson also goes through
IT TOOK Andy Murray just one hour and 38 minutes to ease into the second round of the US Open. The 26-year-old Scot began the defence of his crown on day three of the rain-affected tournament against Frenchman Michael Llodra and his opponent offered little in the way of resistance as Murray cruised to victory in straight sets (6-2 6-4 6-3).
The win capped a good day for British tennis in New York with Laura Robson having earlier reached the third round with a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) victory over Caroline Gomez. That match, like Murray's, was a victim of the severe storm that swept over Flushing Meadows bringing with it torrential rain and flashes of lightning.
It wasn't until 10pm local time – three hours behind schedule - that Murray finally emerged onto the Arthur Ashe court to start the defence of the title he won 12 months ago on what the New York Times called a "very long, very trying tournament day". Incredibly, his wasn't the last match of the day with a women's second round match between Sloane Stevens and Urszula Radwanska, which was won by the American, not being completed until 1am local time.
But despite the delay, and despite the fact the US Open had begun 59 hours earlier, Murray had no trouble finding his rhythm on the soggy surface. The first set was wrapped up in 26 minutes as Murray overwhelmed the Frenchman – ranked 49 in the world – with the power of his ground strokes.
Llodra threatened to spring a surprise in the second set, racing to a 3-0 lead, but Murray fought back with a series of brutally precise passing shots to take it 6-4.
The third set was as emphatic as the first as the 33-year-old Frenchman wilted in the face of Murray's sustained aggression. "We had a long wait to get on and I tried to get off to a good start," said Murray when asked to reflect on the delayed defence of his crown. "I thought I moved well and played very solidly, with very few unforced errors. That's important. You want to build into the tournament. I hit winners and passed well - I'll try to take that into my next match."
That will be on Friday against 26-year-old Leonard Mayer of Argentina, a player whom Murray beat comfortably on their only previous encounter in 2009. ·