WIMBLEDON, England—It was odd to see Andy Murray relegated to No. 1 Court, but not a lot went by the book on Wednesday. In one of the few examples of order on Day 3, Murray took care of Yen-Hsun Lu in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.
Not that No. 1 Court was an inferior venue from which to watch the British No. 1. Lacking a roof (for now), it does a fair impression of the old Centre Court if you look skyward. You’ll see a familiar, distinctive overhead, shading a good portion of the 11,393 seats. Holding just 3,586 fewer spectators than Centre Court, No. 1 is an intimate yet sizable arena that’s easy on the senses. I didn’t have to squint to read every hand-made sign or decode every unfurled flag; forget Arthur Ashe Stadium—Louis Armstrong Stadium this ain’t. I could clearly hear Lu’s giant exhales, which he let out after he and Murray hit balls, and the “C’mon Andy” cheers sounded a little bit more vociferous.
Those chants sounded a little bit worrisome early on, for at 2-2, Murray faced three break points, but kept an early hold pattern going with three strong serves. The missed opportunity seemed to deflate Lu, who fell out of rhythm and played a horrific game to trail 4-2. One of the culprits was his first serve, which began to stray as the set barreled towards its conclusion. Getting plenty of second serves to look at, Murray began to impose himself on Lu, and in a matter of minutes the nosedive was complete.
Lu would never really recover from that poor patch of play, even if his own tennis improved. But the 29-year-old, who beat Andy Roddick at Wimbledon three years ago, was facing an upward battle from the start. Lu strikes a big ball, but not big enough to hit past Murray with regularity, or aggressively enough to prevent the Scot from tracking it down. In some ways, Lu’s top level can bring about Murray’s counterpunching best.
Holding serve, therefore, was of paramount importance to Lu, but he was broken in the first game of the second set, in which Murray was largely untested. Lu was broken in the final game of that set, too, which ended by his own undoing: A double-fault.
The underdog showed some bite in the third set, holding a six-deuce game at 2-3 and saving three match points, but a long forehand sent Murray into the third round on a day when the only participant of this contest guaranteed to advance was chair umpire Jake Garner.
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