Wawrinka, Murray On Missions
Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray fend off late surges to reach the second round
Fifth seed Stan Wawrinka has shaken off a third-set wobble to claim a second-round berth at the US Open on Tuesday, with a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(6) victory over Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The two-hour, 14-minute win takes the 30-year-old Swiss native’s FedEx Head2Head against the Spaniard to a perfect 5-0. He clocked 53 winners to the 27 year old’s 25, breaking on five of his 12 opportunities.
Wawrinka, a two-time Grand Slam champion after this year’s French Open triumph, reached the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows in 2013 and quarter-finals last year. He is 16-2 in Grand Slam play this season, reaching the quarter-finals or better in the first three majors.
“In general was good match,” Wawrinka said. “I'm happy to get through in three sets. I think my level is there. Physically I feel good. I'm ready for the rest.”
Wawrinka broke with Ramos-Vinolas serving to stay in both the first and second sets. The match, however, looked to be heading to a fourth set when the Spaniard broke for the chance to serve out the set at 6-5. Wawrinka, though, steadied to force the tie-break and took the match on his third match point when Ramos-Vinolas hit a backhand error. His win books a second-round clash with Korean young gun Hyeon Chung, a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 winner over Australian James Duckworth.
On a day when the mercury was soaring and taking a heavy toll on players, Wawrinka was thankful he had a later start. He did not consider the heat to have had any great bearing on his match.
“I start at 5(pm), so it's not that hot for me, just humid,” he said. “Maybe I'm lucky to play that late and not during the day with the sun. I think, apart from the fact it’s really humid, it was not a big deal for me tonight.”
Later, 2012 champion Andy Murray finished strongly in a tricky first-round encounter with dangerous Australian Nick Kyrgios, reaching the second round with a 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory under lights. The Scot led his 20-year-old opponent 3-0 in their FedEx Head2Head series coming into the contest, including straight-sets triumphs in the quarter-finals of this year’s Australian Open and in the third round of the French Open.
“I mean, he's played well pretty much in every Grand Slam tournament that he's been part of,” Murray said. “Had big wins and pushed, you know, a lot of guys extremely hard and caused a few upsets as well. I expected a very tough match, and that's what I got.”
The No. 3 seed, coming off an ATP Masters 1000 win in Montreal, hit 18 aces and just two double faults, finishing with 46 winners to Kyrgios’s 42. Murray’s consistency proved telling. He committed just 23 unforced error’s to his opponent’s 39. Next up is Adrian Mannarino after the Frenchman scored a 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-1 win over Russian Konstantin Kravchuk.
“I served pretty well for the most part,” Murray said. “Hit my second serve extremely well in the fourth set. That's something I'll hopefully keep doing as the tournament goes on.”
Elsewhere, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut edged out American Sam Querrey 7-5, 7-6(6), 7-5, while Spanish No. 31 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez fought back from two sets to one down to defeat Serbian Janko Tipsarevic 7-6(4), 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Steve Darcis progressed when Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis retired hurt with the Belgian leading 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-2, 3-1. Darcis’ countryman Rubens Bemelmans was also successful, downing Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin rebounded after losing a marathon first-set tie-break to prevail against German Benjamin Becker 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.