NEW YORK (Reuters) - Third seed Andy Murray finally enjoyed a straight-forward win after two earlier battles to advance to the fourth round of the U.S. Open with a 6-3 6-2 7-5 victory over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci on Saturday.
Murray, who won his first major at the 2012 U.S. Open a year before winning Wimbledon, had fought back from two sets down to beat France’s Adrian Mannarino in the second round after needing four sets to beat Australian Nick Kyrgios in his opening match.
A routine win on a cool, comfortable night after a week of stifling heat gave Murray, who has also battled a head cold, the last berth in the fourth round and should prime the Scotsman for the pressures of the later stages at the year’s last grand slam.
”Conditions were so much nicer to play in today,“ the world number three said. ”Like after long rallies, you weren’t really struggling for breath as much.
”The first couple rounds, it really doesn’t get much harder than that. Maybe it will get bad again, but they’re some of the toughest conditions you’ll play in during the year.
“To get through those matches, especially the second one, was important.”
Murray, whose voice was gravelly earlier in the week from the effects of his cold, was feeling better about his tennis and his health.
”I slept during the day yesterday two or three times,“ he said. ”Today I got up, and I slept again before coming out to the courts. Today I felt much, much better.
“My voice feels like normal again. Still dull obviously, but it feels more normal today and not blocked up or anything.”
As for the quality of his tennis, Murray said: ”I felt like I played well. In these conditions, it’s a bit easier to control the ball. The ball was not bouncing as high. It was a bit sort of flatter.
“It was much slower conditions to serve in. So less aces. The speed of the serve was a bit lower,” he added. “But then obviously returning is a little bit easier.”
Murray, 28, was pleased with how he is heading into the second week.
”It was a tough, tough start to the tournament for me,“ he said. ”A very testing couple of rounds.
“Today I played a little bit better. I feel better, as well.”
Murray will next face 15th-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, who beat Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets.
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty