US Open 2014: Now it gets serious as Murray looks to end top 10 hoodoo

It is 14 months since Murray last beat a player in the world’s top 10

The unpredictable Dutchman, the untested German and the inexperienced Russian are all last week’s news. After reaching the second week of the US Open by beating Robin Haase, Matthias Bachinger and Andrey Kuznetsov – all ranked outside the world’s top 60 – Andy Murray knows that now is the time to prove that he still has what it takes to outgun the big hitters.

It is 14 months since Murray last beat a player in the world’s top 10 – his victory over Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final was also the last time he won a tournament – but that run must end if he is to reach the quarter-finals here at Flushing Meadows. In the third match of this afternoon’s day session in Arthur Ashe Stadium Murray takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the world No 10, and knows even tougher opposition will lie in wait if he continues to progress.

Murray, nevertheless, does not see his recent record against the top men as a problem. “I’ve beaten many top 10 players over the course of my career in these events and I’m sure it will happen again – and happen soon,” he said on Saturday night after his 6-1, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Kuznetsov, the world No 96.

Tsonga had lost eight matches in a row against Murray until they met last month in Toronto, where the 29-year-old Frenchman won their quarter-final after trailing 3-0 in the final set. Tsonga, who had fallen to No 17 in the world rankings earlier in the summer, went on to win the title in Toronto, where his victims also included Djokovic and Roger Federer. “It’s never a good time to play Andy, but for me this is the best time because I’m feeling better than a few months ago,” Tsonga said after his straight-sets victory in the third round over Pablo Carreno Busta.

Murray’s mid-match lapses and failure to close out victories are arguably of greater concern than his defeats by top opposition. He has regularly lost matches from winning positions this year: he led Florian Mayer by a set and 3-0 in Doha, was a break up in the deciding set against Milos Raonic in Indian Wells and led Rafael Nadal 4-2 in the final set in Rome, but lost all three matches.

Even against Kuznetsov Murray had some dips, dropping serve four times, though he insisted he did not see his lapses as a major problem. “To be honest, it’s better almost not to think about it too much,” he said. “I’ve obviously played 500 or 600 matches in my career and you’re going to have moments when certain things are hard.

Andy Murray says it will take months before his work with Amélie Mauresmo will bear fruit Andy Murray says it will take months before his work with Amélie Mauresmo will bear fruit (Getty)

“There are periods where some players struggle to serve out matches. Sometimes it can be struggling to come back from tough situations. Sometimes it can be struggling to stay ahead or having ups and downs in matches. You’re going to go through that in an 800 or 900-match career. You’ve just got to keep doing the right things, keep going for your shots, keep making good decisions.”

Did Murray think he was sometimes guilty of taking his foot off the gas in matches? “Not really,” he said. “Sometimes guys can start playing well. Often people don’t like to give credit when a guy is playing some good tennis as well.”

Reaching the fourth round extended Murray’s excellent record in the biggest events. The world No 9 has made the second week of his last 15 Grand Slam tournaments and 24 of his last 25. He knows people will start judging the success or otherwise of his coaching relationship with Amélie Mauresmo according to his results from here onwards but believes it is too early to expect her to have had a major influence on his game.

“It takes longer than just a couple of months,” he said. “I said the same thing with Ivan [Lendl] as well. I think it takes five or six months before you can really change much. Since Wimbledon we’ve only actually had two weeks of practice – and practice is really where you can start to make changes to your game if there are things you want to improve.

“I would hope you’d start to see some changes, things I’m trying to work on, see them really improving by the Australian Open. But there’s no reason why I can’t have good results right now and she can’t influence things right now.”

News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor