(September 1, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The sound of rain loudly pelting the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium prevented Andy Murray from hearing the sounds of the ball. That did not stop the 2012 US Open champion from beating Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the third round on Thursday.
“You can’t hear anything, really,” Murray said. “I mean, you could hear the line calls but not so much when the opponents — you know, when he was hitting the ball or even when you’re hitting the ball, really, which is tough purely because we’re not used to it. That’s what makes it challenging.”
“We use our ears when we play,” Murray continued. “It’s not just the eyes. You know, it helps us pick up the speed of the ball, the spin that’s on the ball, how hard someone’s hitting it.
“You know, if we played with our ears covered or with headphones on, it would be a big advantage if your opponent wasn’t wearing them.”
Rain delayed play all over the rest of the courts, with Day session matches on the outer courts ending well after the Night session.
Serena and Venus Williams had little trouble advancing to th third round of Flushing Meadows. No. 1 Serena aiming for her 23rd major beat Vania King 6-3, 6-3 to open the night session. The win equaled Martina Navratilova’s Open-era record of 306 major match wins. Roger Federer holds the record with one more win.
“I knew it was on the horizon,” Serena said. “I knew at Wimbledon that I wanted to get there. Obviously I’m excited about that. Would like to take one more step, several more steps.”
Older sister Venus stopped Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-3.
“Yeah, definitely today was a lot more measured than my first round,” said the 7-time major champion I just felt like I had to dial it back a little bit, maybe play a little bit more percentage tennis, play within myself, keep my errors down.
“Very happy that it worked out against an opponent who is seasoned, who can play, who can serve, who has a lot of big shots. So it was a nice test to come through.”
2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, in the tournament as a wild card beat 19th seed American Steve Johnson 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2 to advance the third round. The Argentine was very happy to have crowd support playing an American in America.
“I feel that for sure.” Del Potro said. “ The people with me are making crazy, and I cannot believe that. I think they are proud to see me playing tennis again after all my surgeries. They know what has been through to get here to come back on tennis.
“That’s amazing when I get into the court and the people likes just to see me. I’m having great days at the US Open.”
“It’s amazing for me having this love from there. I just want to show my tennis as I did in the past. And hopefully I can go far to keep winning matches.”
US qualifier ranked 122 in the world, Jared Donaldson is now 2-0 in his career in majors. The 19-year-old who knocked out 12th seed David Goffin in the first round, took down Viktor Troicki 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the third round.
“I’m still 120 in the world,” he said. That’s not amazing. That’s not where I want to end up. It’s 120 in the world. I want to be top 10, top 5, No. 1. Eventually, if I get to that ranking, I’ll have enough attention, almost too much attention. I just have to make sure that I stay focused on my game, try not to let the outside factors kind of dictate how I play or act. I just have to keep improving.”
Other surprises in the tournament on Thursday included 2011 champion Sam Stosur losing to Shuai Zhang 6-3, 6-3, Joao Sousa beating 16 seed Feliciano Lopez, Daniel Evans knocking out up-and-comer Alex Zverev, the 27th seed and Paolo Lorenzi stopping 30th seed Giles Simon in five sets.