NEW YORK-- Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie sailed into the second round of the U.S. Open with straight-sets wins on Tuesday as hopes for British success at the tournament got off to a promising start.
Former champion Murray, working his way back from hip surgeries, was forced to labour more than Norrie, needing four match points and three hours to beat Frenchman Corentin Moutet 6-2 7-5 6-3, sealing victory with a lovely backhand winner. "I'm at my highest ranking since I had the metal hip so I'm happy with that," said Murray, the former world number one now ranked 37th and unseeded at the major he won in 2012. "It's not been an easy journey - obviously I would like to be ranked higher," he added after notching his 200th match win at a Grand Slam tournament. Murray, 36, comfortably captured the opening set against his 24-year-old opponent before falling an early break behind in the second. Moutet had set points at 5-4 but failed to convert and Murray broke with a blistering backhand winner, leading the emotional Frenchman to demolish his racket. Murray had set point two games later and did well to put a well-placed serve back into play and Moutet responded by badly missing an overhead to fall two sets behind. On serve at 2-2 in the third, Moutet fell while chasing down a ball hit into the corner, the lefty landing hard on his left wrist and staying down for an extended period. He would continue and dig deep to fend off break points and hold for 3-3.
But fan-favourite Murray would not be denied, converting his 10th break point chance of the set with a deft drop shot for 5-3 en route to victory. "It was amazing - brilliant atmosphere," Murray said to his many fans packed into the Grandstand court. "He's one of the most skillful players on the tour. He always causes a little bit of chaos out there." Earlier in the day, 16th seed Norrie cruised past Alexander Shevchenko 6-3 6-2 6-2 in 91 minutes as he looks to turn around a disappointing second half of his season. Norrie fell in the second round of Wimbledon and suffered first round exits at three U.S. Open warm-up events but played nearly flawless tennis to dispatch the Russian. "I always feel good coming to New York and I think I was really hungry to get a win. You know, I hadn't had too many in the last few weeks," Norrie told reporters. "It was a good win, but on to the next one." Britain's Dan Evans and Jack Draper are also in action on Tuesday.