Andy Murray has measure of his mother's favourite 'Deliciano'

 

Flushing Meadows

Judy Murray is not the only member of her family who relishes the chance to meet the man she calls "Deliciano". Feliciano Lopez, a big-hitting exponent of serve-and-volley, is just the sort of opponent who brings the best out of Andy Murray. The 25-year-old Scot loves a target at the net, which gives him licence to counter-attack and underline his reputation as one of the best returners in the sport.

If Lopez is to surprise the Olympic champion in the third round of the US Open here today he will have to turn back what has been an all but irresistible tide in their six previous encounters. Murray has won them all, including a third-round meeting here 12 months ago and in last year's Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Murray has lost only one of the 15 sets the two have played.

"He's got a big serve on him and he likes to come to the net," Murray said. "I have had good success against him in the past. But because of his style, he can make it very tricky if he plays well."

The match will be different to Murray's first two rounds, against Alex Bogomolov and Ivan Dodig. "I think there's a few things I'll do differently going into the match," Murray said. "Possibly against Lopez it would be a different match. The points are a lot shorter. Also if I serve like I did [against Dodig] I'll be able to dictate a lot more of the points and won't have to do as much running."

While Murray has had two days of rest following his victory over Dodig on Wednesday night, Lopez was on court for four and a half hours on Thursday before beating his fellow countryman, Pablo Andujar, in five sets. "I just hope to be 100 per cent," the 30-year-old Spanish left-hander said. "I have one day to recover and hopefully it will be enough."

Would Lopez consider different tactics from his previous matches against Murray? "I will try to change something from our last match," he said. "He is a good returner and he likes playing aggressive players like me who attack and try to go for the point every time."

When reminded that Murray's mother was a big fan of his, Lopez smiled. "I'm a great fan of her as well. I have told her that. Judy is a great person and Andy and Jamie are also great guys. I know everybody has been joking about Judy and me, but we are good friends and I admire her personality and her charisma."

Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, and Roger Federer, the world No 1, continue to make impressive progress. Although he was rarely at his best, Djokovic needed only 99 minutes to beat Brazil's Rogerio Dutra da Silva 6-2, 6-1, 6-2. The 25-year-old Serb has dropped only seven games in his first two matches. Federer continued his quest to win the title for a sixth time — which would be a record in the Open era — when he beat Germany's Bjorn Phau 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 with a fine display of attacking tennis. "I like coming forward when I am up," Federer said. "I just try to maintain that. And if things don't work out that way, you can always play it safe again."

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