Murray survives cramp scare at US Open
Originally published on 26/08/14
The former champion ground out a 6-3 7-6(6) 1-6 7-5 victory while nursing issues with his calf, quads and even his left forearm in the third set, and admitted a fifth set would have been a struggle in his condition.
“I could have easily lost that match,” Murray said. “I was very close to losing the match. I certainly wouldn’t have been the favourite if it had gone to five sets.”
Murray, who hasn’t lost in the opening round of a Grand Slam since 2008, was at a loss to explain the sudden onset of the problem, which offered Haase a route back into the match. With the No.8 seed standing during change of ends in a bid to ease the pain, the Dutchman won nine consecutive games to take the third set and open up a lead in the fourth before Murray responded.
"I felt extremely good before the match, and I did train very, very hard to get ready for the tournament," he said.
"So it's unlikely, I would say, that it's down to poor physical condition, because I have trained and played matches. I don't know if it's something I have done in the last few days that's been wrong or not, but I need to try and find out.
"It's not the worst I have ever felt, but it's the worst I have ever felt after an hour and a half of a tennis match. That's what was worrying about it – it came after such a short time."
Murray will face Germany’s Matthias Bachinger in the second round after the qualifier upset Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-2 6-2.
Sharapova sparkles in battle of the Marias
Maria Sharapova played the first of the US Open’s evening session matches on Arthur Ashe, beating compatriot Maria Kirilenko 6-4 6-0.
Kirilenko, playing her first match since Wimbledon, briefly threatened an upset by surging to a 4-2 lead in the first set, bringing the crowd to their feet when she returned a smash and chased down a drop shot to move ahead, but Sharapova moved through the gears to claim the next 10 games in succession to summarily dispatched the world No.113.
“It’s always tough to start here in New York,” said Sharapova, who missed last year’s US Open through injury. “It was tough missing this court last year. To be back here you realise how meaningful it is.”
Alexandra Dulgheru awaits Sharapova in the second round. The Romanian saw off Kristyna Pliskova 6-3 6-4.
Kyrgios fires F-bombs, winners to beat Youzhny
Nick Kyrgios picked up where he left off at Wimbledon at the final Grand Slam of the year, stunning Russian No.21 seed Mikhail Youzhny in a match that will be remembered as much for the Australian teenager’s temper as his stunning play.
Kyrgios hit 68 winners, including 26 aces, and 57 winners in a typically gung-ho performance against Youzhny, but came within one code violation of defaulting the match after twice yelling ‘f***’ during the match. The first, while he lead the match by two sets to love, earned him a point penalty, while the second handed Youzhny a game midway through the fourth set.
But Kyrgios responded with a sterling performance to close out the match, recouping a break in the fourth set and showing his full array on talents in the ensuing tie-break, including a pin-point lob and a full-blooded forehand winner to close out the win 7-5 7-6(4) 2-6 7-6(1).
Men: Mikhail Youzhny (21), Julien Benneteau (24)
Women: Garbine Muguruza (25)
Shock of the day
After riding the wave of his Wimbledon doubles heroics to his first ATP singles final in Washington, Vasek Pospisil came to New York brimming with confidence and determined to bury the demons of his first-round exit in 2013. No luck – once more the Canadian was sent crashing out in five sets, this year against a stubborn Simone Bolelli 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-3. On the plus side, he can now focus on winning a second doubles title with American partner Jack Sock…
Performance of the day
Take a bow Madison Brengle, who claimed her first main draw victory at the US Open – seven years after her only other appearance. The 24-year-old American wildcard had never claimed a Grand Slam victory before in four attempts between 2007 and 2008 before beating Israel’s Julia Glushko 6-3 6-2 in front of a raucous crowd on Court 17. Up next – No.26 seed Sabine Lisicki.
Quote of the day
“It’s not often you hit 140mph on a second serve” – Milos Raonic was firing bullets during his 6-3 6-2 7-6(1) victory over Japan’s Taro Daniel.
Stat of the day
77 – the combined age of Venus Williams and Kimiko Date-Krumm. After both surviving the attention of bees during the match, Williams emerged victorious from their first-round meeting on Arthur Ashe, a court Date Krumm remembered seeing in construction earlier in her career.