NEW YORK (REUTERS, AFP) - Andy Murray powered into the second round of the US Open with a comfortable 7-5 6-3 6-3 win over Argentine Francisco Cerundolo on Monday, as the former world number one rolled back the years at the scene of his first Grand Slam triumph a decade ago.
The 35-year-old Scot, who has battled various injuries in recent years, raced to a 5-2 lead early in the match but dropped his level slightly before edging a tight first set and breaking quickly in the next to put 24th seed Cerundolo under pressure.
Murray staved off a comeback attempt by Cerundolo to take the second set for a commanding lead and showed little signs of stepping off the gas pedal, as his opponent continued to make life difficult for himself with unforced errors.
A double break in the third set allowed twice Wimbledon champion Murray to surge ahead 4-1 and he sealed the win when Cerundolo sent a return long.
Murray faces Australian John Millman or American Emilio Nava in the second round.
Meanwhile Daniil Medevedev launched the defence of his US Open crown on Monday with a straight sets victory over lowly ranked American Stefan Kozlov.
World number one Medvedev, bidding to become the first man to successfully defend the US Open since Roger Federer in 2008, eased into the second round with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 win in 2hrs 1min.
Victory was sweet for Medvedev, who revealed he had regularly struggled to beat Kozlov when the two played at junior level.
“He was almost impossible to beat,” said the Russian, citing one encounter where his opponent “destroyed me.”
“I was happy to get my revenge today,” Medvedev added. Kozlov, ranked 111th in the world, scored an early service break in the first set to stay in touch at 2-2 in warm, muggy conditions in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Medvedev broke back immediately, however, and broke again for a 3-2 lead which soon became 5-2 with a further break in the seventh game.
The Russian held for the first set and took control of the contest in the second, breaking for a 5-4 lead and closing out on serve. The 26-year-old scored three straight breaks to lead 5-0 in the third and then held to seal victory.
Medvedev plays France’s Arthur Rinderknech in the second round.