NEW YORK — Right now it seems like nothing can stop Andy Murray.
Well, maybe there is one thing.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing here, I haven’t lost too many matches on this court,” Murray told Darren Cahill on Arthur Ashe Stadium after his clinical 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Lukas Rosol. He added with a smile: “Armstrong is the one I’ve struggled on. Hopefully I can play here a few more times.”
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic may still be a slight favorite among the bookmakers, but, on this evidence, Murray is the man to beat at the US Open.
The Scot’s main rival at Flushing Meadows looked below his best in his opening win, and is dealing with wrist and elbow injuries to boot after shocking early exits at Wimbledon and in Rio.
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In contrast, Murray arrived at Flushing Meadows having reached seven straight finals; he is 33-2 since the Madrid Masters, winning his second Wimbledon title and Olympic gold medal along the way.
The draw didn’t throw up an easy opener for Murray in Rosol, a dangerous opponent on paper. There had been a little bad blood between the pair in Munich last year — the Czech bumped into Murray at a change of ends and the British No. 1 told him that “nobody likes you on the tour.”
But it was Murray here who knocked Rosol out of his way. Dressed all in black, he turned out the lights on the world No. 81 to sail into the second round.
It was a clinical display from Murray — the world No. 2 didn’t drop his serve once, and raced through in just an hour and 50 minutes to set up a second-round meeting with Marcel Granollers.
“I served very well, I don’t think I had any break points against me, that was good,” Murray added. “I used good variation on my second serve as well, which is important against someone who goes for big returns.
“It was a tough start, he had chances early on, but once I got a break up I started to relax and played well.”
This has been a remarkable year for Murray, and you get the feeling there could be something even more special to come.
If he makes the final, he would become just the fourth man to reach all four major finals in a calendar year — but he won’t be aiming for anything less than a fourth Grand Slam title and second US Open title.
Murray won the first of those here during his maiden spell with coach Ivan Lendl. “Since we stopped working together, a lot has changed for both of us,” Murray said.
“I feel I’m more mature — I have a family now, and Ivan has been coaching younger players, juniors. That changes your perspective a little bit. It’s been a good start to our relationship again.”
Some things never change, though.
“His jokes are still the same, still not funny,” Murray quipped of his coach.