Murray not sweating over cramped U.S. schedule

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Britain’s Andy Murray made a belated start to his U.S. Open with a straight-sets victory over Lukas Lacko Wednesday and said the cramped schedule will not hamper his chances of a first grand slam title.

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The Scot was the last of the top four seeds to play in the first round but made up for lost time with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win in one hour 51 minutes on the third day of the U.S. Open

Murray was delighted to get off the steamy court quickly in temperatures that topped 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).

But if Murray is to win the title, he will have to win his seven matches over 12 days, compared to seven in 14 for five-time champion Roger Federer, who began his campaign on Monday.

“It’s a lot easier to play the matches in 14 days, anyone would tell you that,” Murray told reporters. “I don’t really know whether I like it or not.

Murray was relatively untroubled by the heat or world number 71 Lacko, fretting only once when he dropped serve early in the second set and slammed his racket against his foot in disgust.

Otherwise, it was smooth sailing for the Scot, a runner-up to Federer in New York in 2008 and also runner-up to the Swiss maestro at the Australian Open earlier this year.

“It wasn’t necessarily the best tennis,” he said. “But it was tricky conditions out there. It was very windy and it was a guy I’ve never played against but I did enough to win in straight sets, and that was the most important thing.”

Murray suffered a loss of form and motivation after his defeat in the final in Australia but said he had begun to feel good about his game again when he reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in July.

Last month, he beat both Rafa Nadal and Federer in Toronto to win his first title of 2010.

“I played badly after Australia but then Wimbledon gave me the confidence again,” he said. “Then I came over (to the United States) and practiced hard and obviously I’ve had a good run in the tournaments, which definitely helps.”

In the second round, Murray will now play Dustin Brown, a Jamaican who may be eligible to play Davis Cup for Britain if he can prove reports he has a British grandmother.

Editing by Frank Pingue