September 1, 2006

British hope Murray races into third round

By Simon Cambers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British teenager Andy Murray raced
into the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-0 6-1 6-1
hammering of Italian Alessio Di Mauro on Friday.

The 17th seed needed just 74 minutes to reach the last 32
for the first time, setting up a clash with Chilean 10th seed
Fernando Gonzalez.

Murray was beaten by Di Mauro in a Challenger Tour event in
2005 but here lost just seven points in a first set that lasted
19 minutes and never looked back as he romped to victory.

"I wanted to beat him after I lost pretty badly against him
last time we played," Murray said.

"I didn't really do anything wrong. I played maybe one bad
game in the third set. I think it was 30-0 up on his serve when
he held maybe, but apart from that it was pretty good."

Gonzalez beat Murray in their only previous meeting last
year in Basle and the 19-year-old Scot said he would have to
play well to reach the fourth round.


"He's had a really, really good summer," Murray said.

"He made semis in LA, semis in Toronto, semis in Cincinnati
and he's won his first two matches comfortably here. It's not a
match that I'm expected to win. It's just supposed to be a
close match.

"He's the higher ranked player, he has more experience. But
I'm feeling pretty good about my game. If I play like I did
today, I've got a shot at winning."

Having climbed 449 places in the rankings to end 2005 at
64, Murray moved inside the top 20 after reaching the
semi-finals of the Masters Series event in Cincinnati earlier
this month.

That run included a win over world number one Roger Federer
and Murray said he now felt able to compete with the very best
players in the world.

"I feel like I'm playing the best tennis of my career," he
said. "I think that's shown in my results. It's my favorite
part of the year, the American hard court stretch. I was
looking to play my best here (and) I have done so far.

"Now I feel like I can win against the best players in the
world consistently. It's just a matter of keeping (it) up for
two weeks.

"I've never had to do it in a grand slam before, how to
manage my off days here and get myself in the best shape for my
matches. I do feel like I can win against most of the players,
but whether I can do it for two weeks is a different story."