Miami Masters 2014: Andy Murray relaxed with life after Ivan Lendl as he crushes Feliciano Lopez - Tennis - Sport - The Independent

Miami Masters 2014: Andy Murray relaxed with life after Ivan Lendl as he crushes Feliciano Lopez

Murray defeated the Spaniard 6-4, 6-1 in just 73 minutes

You could have been forgiven for thinking that little had changed in Andy Murray’s world as the 26-year-old Scot continued the defence of his Miami Masters title in impressive fashion on Sunday.

Ivan Lendl looked on approvingly from the sidelines as the man he guided to two Grand Slam titles brushed aside the familiar challenge of Feliciano Lopez. Murray, who has never lost to Lopez in nine meetings, won 6-4, 6-1 in just 73 minutes with a performance full of bold ball-striking and cleverly constructed rallies.

The only clue that all might not have been as it seemed was the fact that Lendl often had a smile on his face. Until last week’s announcement that the two men had parted company, Lendl generally watched Murray’s matches with an unchanging, stone-faced expression.

The former coach’s presence at Crandon Park – he sat next to Dani Vallverdu, Murray’s long-term friend and hitting partner – underlined the fact that there was no rancour in their split. Lendl, who wants to devote more time to his own projects, was clearly keen to demonstrate his continued friendship with the Wimbledon champion.

Whether or not it had anything to do with Lendl’s presence, Murray gave one of his most convincing performances since beginning his return from back surgery at the end of last year.

Murray had been taken to three sets in seven of his previous eight matches and had dropped the first set in five of them, but he rarely looked back after breaking Lopez to love in the opening game. The Spaniard has had back problems of his own recently and never got going.

With the temperature climbing above 30C and ice packs the order of the day at the change of ends, Murray never lost his cool. He dropped serve only once, when he mishit a series of backhands in the second game, and regularly had Lopez in trouble with the quality of his returns.

At 2-2 in the first set Murray broke to love for a second time, Lopez hitting a double-fault at 0-40. The world No 6 served out for the set after 44 minutes when Lopez netted a backhand. Murray kept up the pressure by breaking serve in the opening game of the second set. The Scot had made 18 unforced errors in the first set but added only four in the second as his consistent ball-striking had Lopez under constant pressure.

The Scot broke again to lead 4-1 and made his fifth break of the match in the final game, putting the Spaniard out of his misery with a smart backhand return winner. Murray now plays Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who came from behind to beat Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 after more than two and a half hours.

The impression that Murray is feeling at ease with himself, despite his disappointment at the split with Lendl, was emphasised at the end when he signed one of the on-court television cameras. His message read: “Relax – all is good.”

Miami is one of the few titles to have eluded Rafael Nadal, but the world No 1 has reached the final three times and launched his latest campaign in emphatic fashion by beating Lleyton Hewitt 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour. Nadal, who has won a record 25 Masters Series titles, now faces Denis Istomin, of Uzbekistan. Novak Djokovic is already through to the fourth round thanks to Florian Mayer’s withdrawal because of a groin injury. The Serb next plays Tommy Robredo, who progressed with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Julien Benneteau.

Stanislas Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, recovered from a poor second set to beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, but Marin Cilic, one of the form players of recent weeks, suffered a surprising 6-2, 7-6 defeat at the hands of France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Serena Williams, playing her first tournament for a month, laboured to a 6-4,  4-6, 6-4 victory over France’s Caroline Garcia as she continued her quest for a record seventh Miami title.

“I can play a hundred times better,” Williams said after making 41 unforced errors, including seven double-faults. “I really gave myself a tremendous amount of trouble out there. Granted, she played great, but I made so many errors. It’s not the way to play professional tennis. Maybe amateur.”

Maria Sharapova needed nine match points and three hours to see off Lucie Safarova. The Russian won 6-4, 6-7, 6-2, but only after Safarova, going for broke, had saved two match points in the tie-break and seven more in the final game. “She kept hitting unbelievable shots,” Sharapova said.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week