Murray faces tough path to US Open final

Scot on a collision course with Del Potro and Nadal before Federer showdown
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andy Murray could meet some familiar faces if he repeats last year's feat of reaching the final of the US Open, which begins here on Monday. The 22-year-old Scot, who is the No 2 seed at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, is scheduled to play Roger Federer in the final, Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals and Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals. He faced the same opponents at the same stages last year.

Murray's victory over Nadal, his first over the Spaniard after five successive defeats, was the best performance of his career, while his four-set win over Del Potro was a gruelling match that took nearly four hours. Murray went on to lose to Federer in straight sets, having had 24 hours less to prepare for the final than the Swiss.

Ernests Gulbis, who reached No 38 in the world rankings last year but has since slipped to No 95, will be Murray's first-round opponent. The Scot beat Gulbis in the second round at Wimbledon and has won all three of his matches against the Latvian.

Romania's Victor Crivoi (world No 96) or Chile's Paul Capdeville (88) will await the winner in the second round, while Ivo Karlovic, the 6ft 10in Croat, is Murray's scheduled third-round opponent. In the fourth round Murray could play Stanislas Wawrinka, whom he beat at the same stage both here 12 months ago and at Wimbledon under the Centre Court roof this summer, or Marin Cilic, who has lost three times to the Scot.

Nadal, who has returned recently after more than two months out with knee trouble, has a tricky challenge in his first Grand Slam match since losing to Robin Soderling in the French Open. He faces Richard Gasquet, who was cleared to return last month after a two and a half month ban following a positive test for cocaine. Federer is seeded to meet Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic or Andy Roddick in the semi-finals.

Murray will be the only British man in the singles after three fellow countrymen went out in the first round of qualifying. Alex Bogdanovic had a match point before losing to Alexander Peya, while Dan Evans and James Ward lost in straight sets to Julio Silva and Harel Levy respectively.

With Anne Keothavong out for the rest of the year with a serious knee injury, there are no British women automatically through to the main draw. Laura Robson, however, moved within one victory of playing in the tournament with her second successive victory in qualifying yesterday. The 2008 junior Wimbledon champion, who was given a wild card into the qualifying competition, beat Hungary's Aniko Kapros 6-4, 7-5 after recovering from 0-4 down in the second set.

Two other British women were also playing their second-round matches later in the day. Elena Baltacha was facing the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova, while Mel South was playing Germany's Julia Schruff. However, Katie O'Brien fell at the second hurdle, losing to Georgia's Anna Tatishvili, after Georgie Stoop had lost in the first round to Poland's Marta Domachowska.


Current world ranking of Andy Murray's first-round opponent Ernests Gulbis.