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
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
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.

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas