Murray breezes on, Earl a no-show

Julian Linden, Reuters

, Last Updated: 8:48 PM ET

NEW YORK - Andy Murray need not have worried. The forecasters got it wrong on both fronts at the U.S. Open on Friday.

While the wind picked up and there were a few fleeting drops of rain that caused a stoppage in play, Hurricane Earl never quite made an appearance at Flushing Meadows.

But Murray’s second-round opponent, an unorthodox Jamaican he knew little about and was warned to expect the unexpected, did show up on centre court but also ran out of puff.

With his dreadlocked hair, sleeveless shirt and baggy short, Dustin Johnson was an instant hit with the Arthur Ashe crowd but apart from a few fleeting moments in the first set, he was blown away, the Briton winning 7-5 6-3 6-0.

Murray, fearing the heavens might open at any time if the predicted wild weather arrived, did his best to finish the match as quickly as he could but ended up hitting the practice courts again because he wanted another workout.

“(There were) probably two rallies in the match that went past eight, nine shots,” Murray said. “So I just went out and hit for 45 minutes just to get a bit of a rhythm. Hit a lot of balls.”

Friday was not a day for the underdogs. They gave the seeds moments of trouble but the big names in action all prevailed.

The defending women’s champion Kim Clijsters recovered from a slow start to reel off 12 games in a row in her 6-3 6-0 third round win over Czech Petra Kvitova.

The Belgian struggled with her serve but still proved too much for Kvitova, the 27th seed, to handle.

Clijsters, who won the U.S. Open in 2005 and 2009, has not lost a set in this year’s tournament and is steadily improving aspects of her game.

“I think it’s only a matter of a few little details I think in my game that I just want to improve,” she said. “I’m trying to achieve the perfect match but a match like today gives me more satisfaction because I beat a good player without even playing my best tennis.”

Clijsters will play unseeded Serb Ana Ivanovic in the round of 16 with Samantha Stosur or Elena Dementieva lurking in the quarter-finals.

BUILDING MOMENTUM

Stosur, runner-up at the French Open in June and seeded fifth at Flushing Meadows, turned in an impressive display to defeat Italy’s Sara Errani 6-2 6-3 in one hour 20 minutes.

The Australian came into the tournament under an injury cloud but is slowly building momentum and confidence.

“Once you get to this point, you never know what can happen,” she said. “So if you keep playing well, you can find maybe the semis or finals. If I’ve been there once, I definitely want to try to be there again.”

Dementieva, a finalist at the U.S. Open six years ago, booked her passage into the fourth round with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova with 7-5 6-2 win.

The Russian won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing but has never won a grand slam singles title.

“I don’t put any pressure on myself. I have had a very successful career so far,” she said. “I’m definitely looking for the big title, but I’m just trying to work on my game.”

French Open champion Francesca Schiavone replicated Roger Federer’s stunning between-the-legs shot during her 6-1 7-5 third round victory over Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine.

John Isner and Sam Querry raised American hopes of a local winner in the men’s draw when they both won.

Isner fired down 24 aces on his way to a 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-4 victory over Marco Chiudinelli but there were times during the match when he grimaced, still feeling the effects of turning his ankle trying to hit a jumping return off a serve into his body from David Nalbandian in Cincinnati.

Querry defeated Marc Granollers 6-2 6-3 6-4 and they almost had a third with qualifier only going down in a fifth set tiebreaker to Sergiy Stakhovsky. (Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedbackzthomsonreuters.com) REUTERS


Videos

Photos