Andy Murray had a scare on Wednesday.
The No. 4 seed in the 2011 US Open needed over an hour to fend off India’s Somdev Devvarman in the first set before eventually winning 7-6 (7-5) in the tiebreaker. From there it was a breeze as he cruised to the 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3 win.
The crowd at Flushing Meadows was in shock, as Murray looked incredibly rusty early on. Miscues with his serve and a weak backhand return had many people thinking upset.
But Murray dug deep and was able to keep his bid to win Grand Slam No. 1 alive and well. The biggest reason Murray was able to cruise in the second and third sets was his powerful forehand. Devvarman was overwhelmed and struggled to even get a racket on most balls.
He had all of the momentum after winning the pivotal firs set according to Devvarman: "Once he got ahead a break in the second, I felt he really took control of the match."
Murray admitted that he had some first-match jitters: "I was a bit nervous at the start, and I think that showed. I started a bit slow, but I'm sure I'll get better as the tournament goes on."
This certainly isn’t the greatest thing to have happen to Murray. Everyone in the tennis world knows that it’s the mental part of his game that needs the most work, and getting off to such a weak start is not ideal for the 24-year old Scot.
His 44 unforced errors tell us two things:
1.) Deyyarman is not nearly in the same skill class as Murray, and the only person capable of beating Murray today was Andy himself...and he almost did early on.
2.) Murray either wasn’t completely focused right out of the gate or he let the big crowd rattle him. Having made it to the finals of this tournament in 2008, the large crowd was likely not the issue.
That’s why you have to be worried with Murray. He tends to not enter matches with supreme focus, and it will end up killing him against a stronger opponent.
It's something he really needs to figure out as he rolls on in the final Grand Slam of the year.
Next up is a second-round matchup against Robin Hasse.