- US Open
Murray does just enough to reach last 16
Andy Murray served up a mixed bag of tennis before finally defeating unseeded Andrey Kuznetsov to take his place in the last 16 of the US Open.
The 2012 champion had looked in superb form - especially in the first set - but let his standards slip in the third before wrapping up a 6-1 7-5 4-6 6-2 victory in two hours and 35 minutes.
"I wanted to make a good start," said Murray on court after the match. "I'd watched a little bit of his match against Fernando Verdasco [in the previous round] and wanted to be aggressive on the second-serve return, so managed to put him on the back foot in the early part of the match.
"I got a little bit sloppy at the start of the third set to let him back into the match, he capitalised on that and started to play better but I was better in the fourth set.
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"I was creating a lot of chances. In his service games in the third set, I had break points in a lot of the games, and just wasn't quite getting there. I knew that if I stayed calm and just kept doing what I'd been doing at the start of the match, I was going to be okay. Thankfully, it worked.
"It was a good match for me to come through, he's a big-hitter from the back of the court and it was a fairly long match, two and a half hours. So I've got a decent amount of tennis in my legs and I'll be fresh for the next round."
Murray took the first set in exactly 30 minutes, 6-1, and although two of his service games saw him saving break points, there was little doubt that the Scot was in command. He broke Kuznetsov on his opponent's first service game, then again while leading 4-1.
Murray broke immediately at the start of the second set, but gifted away that advantage with a poor service game in the eighth game of the set. A double fault sealed it the break, and Murray cursed at himself in disgust.
Kuznetsov took great confidence from that and hit two superb winners in the next game to take a 5-4 lead. Murray served successfully to stay in the set, then broke Kuznetsov on his next service game, sealing it with a superb winner moving in on a second serve and displaying his relief with a fist-pump towards his watching team.
Another roar came at the end of the next game, as Murray successfully served for the set via two huge first serves. But that intensity dropped in the third set. He was broken in the fourth game and Kuznetsov stretched to a 4-1 lead before Murray broke back to get to 4-4.
However, serving to stay in the set, Murray missed forehands in consecutive rallies before double-faulting to gift the third set to Kuznetsov, 6-4.
The fourth set encapsulated everything that went before it; Murray stretched out a 4-1 lead with a double break, only to immediately hand one of them back to the resilient Russian. Murray broke again to lead 5-2 and finished the match of with a determined serve-volley point.