James McGee bows out of US Open
Dubliner beaten in four sets by Kazakh opponent, Andy Murray survives against Robin Haase
James McGee of Ireland returns a shot against Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan in their first round at the 2014 US Open. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images
Andy Murray of Great Britain hits a return to Robin Haase of the Netherlands during the 2014 US Open Tennis Championship at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. Photograph: Jason Szenes / EPA
Ireland’s James McGee bowed out of the US Open in the first round on Monday night, beaten by 6-4, 2-6, 1-6, 6-7 (3/7) by Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov on Court 13 at Flushing Meadows.
The Castleknock man began brightly, breaking Nedovysov’s serve to 15 as the Kazakh registered three unforced errors in five points, and then working hard to hold his serve and take a 2-0 lead.
Error countNedovyesov, ranked 108th in the world, would end the set with an error count of 16 to McGee’s nine, with his play consistently undermined by wild forehands, but he did force McGee to save two break points and the Irish man served for the set at 5-4.
McGee (ranked 194) came to the net three times in that 10th game and won each point as he wrapped it up on his serve.
The second set began badly, however, and McGee found himself 3-0 down after being broken in the second. Though McGee looked comfortable holding his serve in the sixth game, with a deft drop volley, he was broken again in the eighth to drop the second set.
McGee (27) struggled even more in the third set, landing only 41 per cent of his first serves, and he found himself 5-0 down before managing to hold serve. He lost the next to surrender the set.
His first serve improved dramatically in the fourth set but he was broken in the fifth game thanks to a double fault. The writing looked to be on the wall for McGee but he broke back in game 10 and the set went to a tie-break.
An early mini-break saw him go 3-1 down and then two wayward backhands saw him concede more ground. A forehand into the net and then another driven long saw him lose the tie-break 3-7.
Haase served for the fourth set but could not take advantage of Murray’s discomfort.
It was another dramatic match on Louis Armstrong Stadium for Murray, who has endured some of his least comfortable moments in grand slams on Flushing Meadows’ second court.
Moved superblyMurray, who next meets German Matthias Bachinger in the next round, moved superbly well and his defensive skills gave him a commanding lead against world number 71 Haase. But from 2-1 in the third set, it was soon obvious that the 2012 US Open champion was in trouble.
With Murray barely moving at times, Haase took advantage to take the third set and at 5-3, he served for the fourth only to falter. Moving better but still nowhere near 100 per cent, Murray sliced and diced his way back to 5-5 and after an enormous forehand return winner gave him another break, he held serve to clinch a dramatic victory.