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US Open: Murray out to shun defeat against pal Marcel Granollers

US Open: Murray out to shun defeat against pal Marcel Granollers

He is playing well – extremely well – as he has all summer, and the man standing in his way today is a bloke he has known for half a lifetime.

Murray and Marcel Granollers grew up together in the junior ranks and since they have been plying their trade on the professional tour, the world No2 has been beating the Spaniard with pleasing regularity. The only time Granollers registered a win in their seven previous meetings was when Murray pulled out of a match in Rome with a bad back after two sets.

Even so, Murray is approaching today’s encounter with caution. “He is a tricky opponent, he plays well on all surfaces,” Murray said of the world No45. “No one plays like him really. He comes forward a lot and he has great hands and a really, really good feel.

“He moves really well and although he doesn’t have a lot of power from the back of the court, he uses a lot of spin on his forehand and then hits his backhand extremely flat, so he’s a tricky character to play against.

“I’ve known him since we were 12 years old. We grew up in the juniors together and I get on well with him. We know each other’s games.”

If Granollers saw any of Murray’s opening match on Tuesday night, a clinical 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Lukas Rosol, he will know only too well that Murray has hit the ground running in New York.

He may have been a bit tired after winning the gold medal in Rio and reaching the final in Cincinnati 11 days ago, but there was no hint of fatigue against Rosol.

“I served very well,” Murray said. “I used good variation on the second serve. That’s something that I worked on a lot. It was good through the grass at Wimbledon. It was important for me. When I serve well, the rest of my game tends to follow.”

The ease of Murray’s win ought to have pleased Ivan Lendl but with the poker-faced coach, it is always hard to tell. He has not spent any time with the Scot since Wimbledon but he appears to have fitted back into the team as seamlessly as ever.

So far, Murray and Lendl have not worked out the specifics of their coaching relationship but Murray is not worried. He trusts his coach implicitly and is delighted with how well the dynamic of the team is working out. The only down side is that Lendl’s jokes have not improved much since the start of the summer.

“They’re still not funny,” Murray sighed. “Ivan knows how much time it takes to do the job properly. At the start, I said I’d be happy to come to him for some training blocks, but I haven’t spoken to him about a length of time yet.

“I’m happy with Jamie [Delgado] when Ivan’s not there. The time when Ivan is there, I find him very helpful and I’m happy with how much he is working with me just now.

“But Jamie’s done a fantastic job since we started working together this year. People say it has been the best year of my career, so the team is working very well together.”

The only man making his progress look even easier than Murray was Novak Djokovic. He was ushered into the third round without lifting a racket yesterday when Jiri Vesely pulled out of their match with an arm injury, which will give the world No1 a little more time to try to heal his own.


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About the author

Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field