New York | Murray is happy with his performance

Andy Murray faces Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the US Open after surviving the “chaos” theory according Corentin Moutet.

I'm happy to keep going and progressing and am hoping to push my ranking up Andy Murray

The 2012 champion and former world No.1, metal hip and all, came through in the first against French left-hander Moutet 6-2 7-5 6-3 in just under three hours, roared on by a near-packed Grandstand crowd at Flushing Meadows.

The Brit’s 200th Grand Slam victory – the ninth player to achieve it, putting him just three behind Pete Sampras on the all-time list – was one of six wins for British players coming through without dropping a set on the second day, with Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage both securing their first US Open main draw victories, with Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Jack Draper making it six of the best.

Murray’s triumph was jam-packed with entertainment with Moutet serving underarm and warned for racket abuse, jaw-dropping swings in momentum and, in what proved the final game of the encounter, the sport’s first official first Video Assisted Review.

In fact, the system, adopted by football in recent years to mixed ‘reviews,’ got off to an embarrassing, “horribly messy” start due to faulty equipment.

Moutet had asked for VAR when it was adjudged the ball had bounce twice his side. Officials were forced to rely on television footage, we were informed by umpire Louise Engzell, who confirmed “the on-court call stands”.

Murray, 36, said: “Obviously I don’t know exactly how it’s supposed to work and who’s supposed to make the decision on it because it was quite clear from the second video that the ball had bounced twice. We watched it about 10 times. It clearly is not the umpire that’s making that decision. I don’t know how the technology works. But it obviously didn’t go to plan in a pretty important moment of the match. It would be good if they could get that fixed.

“It was amazing, a brilliant atmosphere. He [Corentin Moutet] is one of the most skilful players on the tour. He has so many ways to disrupt you. He always causes a little bit of chaos. I hope it was entertaining for everyone.

“I am glad to get through in straight sets because the second set was very tight. It was a long one but the way that we play it was probably always going to be that.

“It was a lot shorter than most of matches this year! I’m happy to get it done in under three hours.

“I had to slowly build my serving up this month (after sustaining an abdominal strain at the start of August) but I was happy with how I served. I can’t wait to move on to the next one.

“I’m at my highest ranking (mid-thirties) since I had the metal hip put in. I’m happy with that. It’s not been an easy journey. Obviously I want to be ranked higher but this is the best I’ve played consistently since 2017.

“I’m happy to keep going and progressing and am hoping to push my ranking up.”


Corentin Moutet had what looked like a bad fall

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Murray, wearing black and white, looked comfortable against his colourful opponent from the start and broke him twice to go a set up as Moutet displayed increased frustration.

But from 40-0 up in the fifth game of the second, Murray lost his serve.

The Scot got more on the front foot, attacking the net and broke back for 5-5 with Moutet smashing his racket and earning his warning.

Murray punctured the Frenchman’s serve again to take the set with Moutet presented his wrecked racquet to a fan.

Double Wimbledon and Olympic champion Murray had to face underarm serves in the third set but got the job done after breaking his opponent in the sixth game of it.

Murray said: “There a lot of long points and tricky moments out there, a lot of stuff going on out there on the court. I did well to get it done in three sets.”

He takes on 19th seed Dimitrov, a 2019 semi-finalist, with an 8-3 advantage in their head-to-heads.

But his Bulgarian opponent, who came from two sets and two match points down to defeat Slovakia’s Alex Molcan, in his opening round, has former Murray coaches Dani Vallverdu and Jamie Delgado in his corner.

Would that insider knowledge at Dimitrov’s disposal work against Murray?

Murray said: ” Maybe. I’ve played quite a lot of matches against ex-coaches. I think I’ve only lost once. So, yeah, I’ve said this a lot: it’s not just with me, but with tennis in general, certain things look sort of easy from the outside, strategy-wise or tactically against lots of players. Once you get on the court, it’s not always that easy to just go out and execute it. It’s difficult. Shots that maybe look like they’re easy to attack, when you’re out there, it’s not quite the same.

“I mean, it probably should be a big advantage for him to have two guys that have worked with me over the years. But we’ll find out in a couple of days.”

Murray, though, will have to do without the support of wife Kim courtside.

She brought out the couple’s four children to New York to back him but has to return with schools coming back from summer breaks in England.

Murray said: “They (his children) have not been really to any tournaments for a long time since we had the third kid. I don’t think they’ve been to any tournaments except, like, they drove to Nottingham obviously for the day. Not abroad.

“It’s the end of the summer holidays. My wife was looking for a bit of a change of scene. It’s not easy when the kids are off school. It’s tough.

“But, it’s brilliant they managed to come out. That was the one benefit of the injury that I had was that I didn’t obviously play in Cincinnati, so I got to spend more time with them.

“They’re actually flying home to try and help them get over the jet lag before school starts next week.”


Andy Murray hoping to go deep at this year's US Open

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)



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