NEW YORK, Sept 2: World number two Andy Murray made himself heard at the US Open, downing tenacious Spaniard Marcel Granollers in straight sets to reach the third round.
With pounding rain creating a din under the new USD 150 million roof of the Arthur Ashe stadium, Murray battled through a tense first set to triumph 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 here yesterday.
But in the 22,000-seat stadium, the acoustics of the roof are proving problematic, and Murray admitted the echoing noise made things difficult.
�It was tough, you couldn�t really hear the ball at all,� said Murray, who is trying to become just the fourth man to reach all four Grand Slam finals in the same year.
His consistency in the majors paid off with a second Wimbledon title in July, a victory followed by a second straight Olympic gold in Rio.
He looked on his way to a routine victory over 45th-ranked Granollers with a 4-1 lead in the opening set, but wasted two set points in dropping his serve in the ninth game before finally breaking Granollers in the next on his seventh set point.
�Thankfully I got through that 5-4 game and then the momentum was back with me,� said Murray, who broke Granollers twice in the second set and once in a tightly contested third to seal the win.
Serena Williams was strong, if not her best, in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Vania King, earning her 306th career win at a Grand Slam. That tally pulled her even with Martina Navratilova, who was 306-49 during her career at the majors.
With the win, Williams moved to 306-42.
It was Williams� first-ever match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium with the roof closed. Rain early on Thursday meant an entire day session with the new roof in use, and officials were weary of lingering storm patterns in the area, keeping the roof intact over the stadium for the night session, as well.
Equally impressive was her older sister Venus, who sprinted past German Julia Goerges to reach the third round. Venus, 36, relied on her big serve throughout the match, posting a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the German.
Fired-up fifth seed Simona Halep reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Lucie Safarova in a battle of former French Open finalists.
Halep showed a flash of frustration after letting an early break get away in the opening frame, but she won the last three games to pocket the set and sealed the win when Safarova double-faulted on match point � one of 11 breaks of serve in the contest.
Halep apologised for her racquet-swiping fit of pique.
Kei Nishikori made it through to the US Open third round after withstanding a serving barrage from Karen Khachanov, late on Thursday. The Japanese No. 6 seed had never met the 20-year-old Russian before and needed all his guile to hold off his opponent�s all-court game in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a rain-delayed victory.
Nishikori�s six aces paled in comparison to the Russian�s 20 and while his 35 winners were five fewer, his consistency in the key moments shone. The 2014 runner-up�s 36 unforced errors were 13 less.
Eighth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria ensured his progress into the third round for the third straight year after a comfortable 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win over Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.
Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland saved four set points on her way to beating British number three Naomi Broady in the second round of the US Open.
The Pole came back from a break down and edged a dramatic tie-break before going on to win 7-6 (9), 6-3.
Third seed Stan Wawrinka looked like a man on a mission in his second round dismissal of qualifier Alessandro Giannessi, downing the Italian 6-1, 7-6(4), 7-5.
Wawrinka, a semifinalist in two of the past three years in Flushing Meadows, has not dropped a set en route to the third round. The Swiss completed the victory in two hours and 28 minutes, striking 57 winners, while turning aside 10 of 11 break points faced. � Agencies