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
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot