Santiago Giraldo beat Andy Murray in straight sets when they met on clay in Madrid last year, but the Colombian discovered yesterday what a different proposition the world No 4 can be on his favoured hard courts.
Murray, twice a champion at the Miami Masters, needed just 84 minutes to beat Giraldo 6-3, 6-4 and earn a fourth-round meeting with South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
Murray spends up to three months a year training in Miami, where he has a second home, and knows the courts and the conditions at Crandon Park as well as anyone. The wind, heat and humidity can be especially challenging, although on this occasion the warm, gentle breeze made the conditions almost perfect.
Giraldo, nevertheless, feels much more at home on a clay court and the Colombian was on the back foot throughout. Murray was particularly ruthless in attacking the world No 31’s second serve. Stepping into the court, Murray regularly put Giraldo under pressure with the power and variety of his returns.
Murray took the first set in 39 minutes, making the decisive break of serve in the sixth game. The Scot raced into a 5-1 lead in the second set, at which point Giraldo decided to go for broke.
The Colombian surprised Murray with the power of some of his shots, broke serve for the only time and reduced the arrears to 5-4, only for the world No 4 to serve out for the match in the following game.
“At the end he started going for some huge shots,” Murray said afterwards. “I was playing very close to the baseline for most of the match and then when he started really going for it at the end I lost my timing a bit.
“I had to really try to take a couple of steps back because it was hard to control the ball from that close to the baseline. But I managed to close it out at 5-4 and I thought it was a good match from my side.”
Murray said that he had been determined to take advantage of the fact that Giraldo does not have a big second serve.
“When you step that far in it gives you the opportunity to come in behind the return if you want, but you don’t have to hit the return that hard from that close in,” he said.
“By being that close you’re taking time away from your opponent. Almost by the time he’s got up from his service motion I’ve already hit the return. I managed to vary it. I returned to both sides of the court and that got him off balance at the beginning of the rallies.”
The win was Murray’s 499th at tour level. He will become the ninth active player and the 46th man in the Open era to win 500 matches if he beats Anderson, who lives just along the Florida coast at Delray Beach and sometimes practises with him in Miami.
Murray won both his meetings last year with the 6ft 8in South African, who is through to the last 16 thanks to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Leonardo Mayer.Reuse content