Murray, Djokovic advance easily
NEW YORK (AP)
Defending champion Andy Murray staggered around the court between points on a humid day at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Once a point started, he sprinted down every ball, as usual. Murray needed a set to find his rhythm against 47th-ranked Florian Mayer, then rolled the rest of the way to a 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2 victory Sunday in the third round of the U.S. Open.
It's classic Murray to grimace in apparent pain after losing a point, then race across the court to hit a winner with no hint of discomfort. Even if his expressions didn't show it, the third-seeded Scot is enjoying the role of reigning champ at Flushing Meadows.
It was here a year ago that he cured 76 years of tennis misery for Britain, its first men's Grand Slam winner since 1936. Then back home for Wimbledon in July he ended its drought there, too, with the first title in 77 years.
"The expectations are higher, but there's not as much pressure to win," Murray said in an on-court interview. "I feel much more comfortable coming into these events than this time last year."
He'll next face 65th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, who won a five-setter against No. 20-seeded Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-1.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic moved into the fourth round by beating 95th-ranked Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.
Djokovic's serve was broken only once, when he served for the match at 5-1 in the third set. He has been broken once in each match while winning all nine sets he has played so far.
His six career Grand Slam titles include the 2011 USOpen, and he has reached at least the semifinals at Flushing Meadows each of the past six years. Djokovic lost in last year's final to Murray.
Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych played his match on the Grandstand, the third-largest stadium at the US Open. In a sport dominated by four players, Berdych is easily overlooked. But he is cruising so far at Flushing Meadows, where he reached the semifinals last year after beating Roger Federer.
The Czech routed No. 31-seeded Julien Benneteau 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 and has yet to drop a set at this year's US Open.
Berdych, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 Wimbledon final, will face ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka in the round of 16. Wawrinka beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (7).
Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 US Open champ, returned to the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2006. At age 32, the Australian is back from years of injuries to make another run. He beat 102nd-ranked Evgeny Donskoy 6-3, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1.