Near-perfect Andy Murray is too strong for Lacko
Defending champion Andy Murray overpowered Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-2 with all the panache of a grand slam winner yesterday to reach the quarter-finals of the Japan Open.
The Olympic gold medallist, playing his first tournament since capturing his first grand slam title at last month’s US Open, completed the rout in just 56 minutes.
“I started the match almost perfectly,” Murray told reporters after stretching his winning streak to nine matches and setting up a quarter-final with Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.
“I only lost a couple of points in the first four or five games,” added the Scot. “Once I got the break in the second set I started to play better.”
Murray mixed up his game to good effect against Lacko with the centre court roof closed as rain from an approaching typhoon lashed Tokyo Bay.
An array of drop shots and sliced passing shots from mid-court left Lacko shaking his head in disbelief and Murray put him out of his misery with a sweet drop volley.
Murray, who lost to Wawrinka’s Swiss compatriot Roger Federer in the final of this year’s Wimbledon before exacting revenge in the Olympic final, is not counting his chickens yet.
“He is playing very well just now,” Murray said of the seventh-seeded Wawrinka. “I think hard courts are a good surface for him. I expect another tough match.”
Wawrinka blew three match points in a second set tiebreak but came through to beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6 6-7, 7-5 in two hours, 37 minutes. “It wasn’t easy having [wasted] three match points in the tiebreak,” said Wawrinka. “You need to be ready to still play the third set and to fight.”
Praising Murray for breaking his grand slam duck after losing his first four major finals, the Swiss added: “He is playing great. It’s going to be tough for sure.”
Late starters Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and Argentine Juan Monaco won their first round matches. Third seed Tipsarevic, resplendent in a pair of bright orange goggles, beat France’s Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
At the China Open in Beijing, meanwhile, two-times champion Novak Djokovic reached the quarter-finals after dismissing Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-1, 6-3 yesterday. Djokovic raced through the first set then lost his serve twice in the second before winning the second-round match. The Serb, champion in 2009 and 2010 in his only previous appearances in Beijing, now faces Juergen Melzer after the Austrian defeated Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-1. Florian Mayer of Germany also made the last eight.
Also in Beijing, defending women’s champion Agnieszka Radwanska took more than two hours to put away Spanish qualifier Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. Radwanska, who lost her Japan Open title in Sunday’s final, struggled to beat the Spaniard in their first-ever meeting. Radwanska broke six times and lost her own serve seven times.
Former world No 1s Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic were knocked out of the third round in straight sets.
Ivanovic was beaten 6-4, 6-3 by Romina Oprandi of Switzerland, who replaced an ill Serena Williams in the draw.
Jankovic fell apart when she was leading 5-2 against Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and lost 7-5, 6-4.
“Jelena is always difficult to play, but I played well,” Suarez Navarro said.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West