x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Rogers Cup round-up: Andy Murray cruises, Roger Federer and Agnieszka Radwanska ease through early rounds

Andy Murray got his North American hard-court season off to a solid start and Roger Federer cruises in straight sets in the Rogers Cup at Toronto. Over in Montreal, Agnieszka Radwanska booked her place in the third round with a straight sets win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Andy Murray needed 54 minutes on Wednesday to oust Nick Kyrgios of Australia from the Rogers Cup at Rexall Centre in Toronto. It was the Briton's first competitive tennis since he withdrew from Wimbledon due to injury, and he says he was pleased that he played 'pain-free'. Ronald Martinez / AFP
Andy Murray needed 54 minutes on Wednesday to oust Nick Kyrgios of Australia from the Rogers Cup at Rexall Centre in Toronto. It was the Briton's first competitive tennis since he withdrew from Wimbledon due to injury, and he says he was pleased that he played 'pain-free'. Ronald Martinez / AFP

Andy Murray got his North American hard-court season off to a solid start with 6-2, 6-2 second-round win over Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday as the Briton set his sights on his first final in more than a year.

In his first action since a quarter-final loss at Wimbledon, Murray looked confident and sharp, disposing of his 19-year-old opponent in 54 minutes on a sunny centre court under the watchful eye of new coach Amelie ­Mauresmo.

Looking for a Canadian hat-trick after lifting the title in 2009 and 2010, Murray had to be wary of Kyrgios, who caught the world’s attention last month when he knocked out world No 1 Rafa Nadal and No 14 Richard Gasquet on an unlikely march into the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

The young Australian never threatened Murray with the eighth-seeded Briton taking control from the start, serving up seven aces, committing just 11 unforced errors and never facing a break point.

“I thought I did most things pretty solid,” Murray said. “I didn’t make too many errors. I moved well. High first-serve ­percentage.

“It was a solid match for a first match back after sort of four-and-a-half, five weeks.”

After a difficult 12 months during which he had back surgery and a coaching change, Murray’s performance provided a small boost heading towards the US Open and the year’s final grand slam tournament, which begins on August 25 at Flushing ­Meadows.

Murray declared himself pain-free, but the battle is to return to full match fitness if he is to challenge for a third grand slam title.

“I started to feel good, actually, just before the French Open,” said the world No 9, who has not appeared in a final since lifting the Wimbledon title in 2013.

“Back felt fine throughout the French Open and through the grass-court season.

“The only problem was that kind of before that I was able to practise but not sort of train off the court, do the stuff in the gym that makes you physically strong.

“So when I was coming up against the better players, I was just lacking a little bit. But after Wimbledon, I went over to Miami and I really trained like I used to for the first time since the surgery and I felt much better.”

Roger Federer put on a professional display as he eased into the third round with a straight-sets win over Canadian Peter Polansky.

The second seed, who is currently ranked third in the world, was clinical as he dismantled Polansky’s serve in front of his home fans to win 6-2 6-0.

Fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil pushed Richard Gasquet to almost give the crowd something to shout about, but he was ultimately edged out 7-5 7-5 by the world number 13.

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Latvian Ernests Gulbis ruthlessly made sure there were no upsets in his match as he refused to relinquish even a single break point in a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Joao Sousa.

Frenchman Gael Monfils faces a second-round clash against world number one Novak Djokovic after beating Radek Stepanek 6-4 7-5.

Ivo Karlovic will face Gasquet after beating Bernard Tomic 3-6 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (8/6) in a lengthy contest.

Number 16 Fabio Fognini defeated Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 6-3 and 17th-seeded Tommy Robredo took a 6-3 7-6(7/3) win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Canadian Frank Dancevic could not lift the home crowd as he lost 5-7 6-0 6-3 to Donaldo Young, while Brayden Schnur lost 6-3 6-3 to Andreas Seppi.

Jack Sock dispatched Jurgen Melzer 6-1 6-3 to set up a meeting with home favourite Milos Raonic, while there were also first-round wins for Gilles Simon, Yen-Hsun Lu and Malek Jaziri.

The other second-round match of the day saw third seed Stan Wawrinka given a test by French qualifier Benoit Paire, with the Swiss eventually prevailing 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7/2) in a contest which lasted more than two hours.

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Radwanska is through in Montreal

Agnieszka Radwanska booked her place in the third round at Montreal with a straight sets win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

The third seed had to battle for her 6-4 6-4 triumph though as the Czech troubled Radwanska’s serve throughout.

Radwanska was broken four times during the clash, but she managed to dig in and still find a way to wrap up the win in an hour and 38 minutes.

In the first round, ninth seed Ana Ivanovic had no such trouble as she made light work of Timea Bacsinszky.

The Serb took the first set 6-1 without her opponent even notching a single break point and then, although the world number 86 improved, she eased to 6-2 in the final set.

Caroline Wozniacki was almost completely dominant as she eased to a 6-1 6-1 win over Daniela Hantuchova, while Venus Williams overcame a second-set wobble to get past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 3-6 6-2.

World number 16 Carla Suarez Navarro came through 6-4 6-3 against Bojana Jovanovski and American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe bridged a 21-place gap in the rankings to progress 6-2 6-4 against Shuai Zhang.

Fellow American Madison Keys is also through after she was 6-1 3-2 up when Svetlana Kuznetsova was forced to retire, Elena Vesnina beat Camila Giorgi 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7/1) and Karolina Pliskova eased to a 6-2 6-1 score against Belgian qualifier Yanina Wickmayer.

Australian pair Casey Dellacqua and Samantha Stosur both booked their place in the second round with wins over Kirsten Flipkens and Monica Puig respectively, while Ekaterina Makarova beat Romina Oprandi 6-4 6-0 and Caroline Garcia made it past Karin Knapp 6-2 6-7 (7/5) 6-1.

There was no joy for Canadian qualifier Stephanie Dubois, who lost a hard-fought first round clash to Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, going down 6-1 6-7 (4/7) 6-2.

But there was even worse news to follow for home fans as fifth seed and hometown girl Eugenie Bouchard was upset by American qualifier Shelby Rogers, losing 6-0 2-6 6-0 in their second-round clash.

“I think I was feeling the pressure a little bit on the court - I felt a little match rusty, kind of,” Bouchard said on the WTA website.

“But I knew coming into the match that I can’t use those as excuses. I knew it would be kind of a difficult situation. But I’m happy I was able to at least prove to myself that I could turn things around and not let the match run away from me completely. That’s definitely a positive from the match.”

In further second round action, eighth seed Victoria Azarenka saw off Alize Cornet 6-4 2-6 6-4.

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