• US Open

Andy Murray eases through late-night show

ESPN staff
August 29, 2013
Andy Murray en route to a straight sets win over Michael Llodra in a match which did not finish until nearly midnight in New York © AP

Andy Murray eased into the second round of the US Open with a 6-2 6-4 6-3 win over France's Michael Llodra in a match that did not finish until 11.33pm.

More than four hours of rain delays during the day meant Murray, the defending champion, did not get on court until 9.55pm, the third-latest start to an Open night session.

Murray, who is seeded third, wasted little time playing nearly flawlessly. He made only five unforced errors, while compiling 34 winners in the 1-hour, 38-minute match.

There was unease with the scheduling but Murray refused to be drawn into the debate.

"It's nothing to do with me being defending champion, there were quite a few matches [still going on Wednesday evening]," Murray told the BBC. "Anyone that knows sport knows that playing seven matches over 13 days is harder than playing seven matches over 15 days.

"You obviously get less time to recover and rest, but you deal with it, do all the recovery stuff and get as much sleep as possible. Now I'm in a routine of playing every other day, which you do at all the other slams."

He did admit that he was surprised not to have started his defence until almost the end of the third day. "I don't know if that's ever happened here before, that a first-round match has been played at 10 o'clock on the third day. I just wanted to get on and play the match. I've been here for 12 days practising and I just wanted to get on the court and play."

But commentating on the BBC, 18-time grand slam champion Martina Navratilova did not pull any punches. "The fact that they plan on playing the first round after three days is wrong," she said. "We've had some women finish the first two rounds and Andy hasn't played his first-round match yet. That shouldn't happen."

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