A year after Kevin Anderson bounced him in the fourth round of the U.S. Open, world No. 2 Andy Murray returned to New York and kicked off his stint at the year's final Grand Slam with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Lukas Rosol.
Murray is now 3-0 lifetime against Rosol—who was coming off a second-round loss against Steve Johnson at the Winston-Salem Open. He also improved to 12-0 in all first-round matches at the U.S. Open, per ATP Media Info on Twitter.
While the gulf in talent between Murray and Rosol is rather large, the three-time major champion had historically struggled against Rosol in first sets entering Tuesday night's clash under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Specifically, Murray dropped the first set against Rosol when the two met at Indian Wells in 2014 and Munich in 2015.
Tuesday, brief spells of early lethargy plagued Murray once again.
Although he escaped the first set with a victory for the first time ever against Rosol, Murray's feisty challenger peppered the two-time gold medalist with a slew of powerful forehands that forced him to work for each and every point throughout the opening frame.
However, Murray worked through his minor struggles and pushed past the Czech challenger's early flurry to take control and close out the stanza on serve after he secured a break, as the U.S. Open documented on Twitter:
US Open Tennis @usopen
Never facing a break point, Andy #Murray cruises to opening set vs. #Rosol, 6-3. #usopen @MBUSA https://t.co/S8OLypYv8v2016-8-31 02:01:14
With his confidence building, Murray settled into a rhythm and simply played a more composed, efficient brand of tennis that allowed him to break Rosol on the first game of the second set and maintain control.
Speaking of control, Rosol couldn't find a gear that suited him. All told, the 31-year-old committed a whopping 45 unforced errors—28 more than Murray.
Rosol was also far less potent with his first serve, and that cost him.
Murray not only bested Rosol, 11-3, in terms of aces, but he won 83 percent of his first-serve points. Rosol, who came unhinged in the second set as Murray built momentum, won a meager 67 percent of his.
And once he secured a swift second-set victory, Murray was in cruise control, as the tournament's official Twitter account displayed:
US Open Tennis @usopen
Thanks to points like this, #Murray takes a two-set lead over #Rosol using speed and defense. 🏃🏃🏃 #usopen https://t.co/Nu2PEP2JND2016-8-31 02:34:36
His serve and forehand were both lethal weapons, and Rosol didn't have the defensive prowess necessary to combat Murray's tactical superiority.
Looking ahead, Murray will square off against Spain's Marcel Granollers after he dispatched Argentina's Juan Monaco in straight sets during first-round action.
And just as he was Tuesday, Murray will be a heavy favorite when he battles Granollers for a spot in the third round. The 2016 Wimbledon champion is 6-1 all-time against Granollers, including four straight wins dating back to a 2013 ATP 1000 Masters clash in Canada.
In fact, Granoller's lone win in the lopsided series came in Rome three years ago when Murray was forced to retire after dropping the first set.
Assuming recent trends hold steady, Murray should start out his first week in Queens, New York, with a pair of decisive victories.
"It was a tough start to the match, and once I got the break up, I started to relax and play well," Murray said, according to BBC Sport.
"I served very well," Murray added, per BBC Sport. "I don't think I had any break points against me, which was good, I had good variation on the second serve as well."
Murray also had some high praise for his next opponent.
"He plays different to a lot of players now, he likes to come forward a lot, he's got great hands and has good feel up at the net," Murray said of Granollers, per the Telegraph's Chris Graham. "He doesn't give you much rhythm, so hopefully I'll play a good match."