Andy Murray will have to defy an unhelpful schedule as well as “brutal conditions” to win his first Grand Slam in the US Open at Flushing Meadows – he is 5/2 to do so.
Murray had to wait until the third day to play his first-round match against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, meaning he must win seven matches in 12 days to end Britain’s 74-year wait for a male Grand Slam champion.
The Scot started with aces on the first two points and then broke Lacko in the fourth game of the match, a trademark backhand drop shot setting up a break point which was won with a sublime forehand lob.
From there it was just a matter of time until Murray closed out a routine win to book a second-round clash with Dustin Brown, the Jamaican with a British grandmother who has already expressed an interest in playing for Britain in the Davis Cup.
The world number four at least conserved as much energy as possible in the sweltering conditions, needing just one hour and 51 minutes to complete a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I managed to get through in straight sets so I’m pleased, but it was a lot tougher than the score suggests,” Murray said on a day which saw 10th seed Victoria Azarenka taken to hospital after collapsing on court.
“It was brutal conditions. It wasn’t necessarily the best tennis, but the conditions were tricky out there.”
Asked about the scheduling at the US Open, which sees the first round spread over three days instead of two and no rest day between the semi-finals and final, Murray added: “It’s just different here with the Saturday, Sunday, semi and final, it is always tricky for all of the players.”
Murray faces an easier route to the semi-final after Tomas Berdych crashed out of the competition. See the full US Open tennis betting market here.