NEW YORK, Sept 1 His biggest tests are still to come but Andy Murray has safely navigated his way to the second week of the U.S. Open with a minimum of fuss.
On Sunday, the Scotsman saw off a spirited challenge from Germany's Florian Mayer, winning their third round match 7-6(2) 6-2 6-2 in less than two hours.
Murray struggled to impose himself on Mayer in the opening set as both players tried to adapt to the tricky conditions at the Arthur Ashe Stadium center court.
It was hot and steamy and the wind was gusting but once Murray found his rhythm it was all smooth sailing. The defending champion won the first set tiebreaker then broke Mayer's serve four times to close it out in straight sets.
"Very tough conditions today," Murray said. "He's a very tricky opponent, plays a lot of strange shots.
"Takes your timing away and tough to get your rhythm, so I'm really glad to come through in three sets."
Murray's opponent in the fourth round will be Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, who beat Italy's Andreas Seppi 6-3 6-4 2-6 3-6 6-1, with Tomas Berdych looming in the quarter-finals.
Berdych, seeded fifth, made the semi-finals at last year's U.S. Open and has been in great form at Flushing Meadows this week, reaching the last 16 without dropping a set.
On Sunday, the Czech dispatched Julien Benneteau of France 6-0 6-3 6-2 to set up a fourth round clash with Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-3 6-2 6-7(1) 7-6(7).
"Today was good," Berdych said. "It was a bit hot, a bit humid, but otherwise tennis was good.
"Finally, I managed to stay focused from the first point till the last. I didn't do any ups and downs, just took all my chances that I had and won in straight sets."
Bob and Mike Bryan's bid to achieve a rare calendar-year grand slam in the men's doubles remained intact after they survived a tough center court clash.
The American twins switched sides after dropping the first set then found themselves down a break in the second before rallying to beat Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-7(1) 7-5 6-2.
"It ended up working out but it was just a desperate call," said Bob Bryan.
"We were feeling a little bit hopeless on the return games, and throwing in a switch like that sometimes is a psychological advantage."
The Bryan brothers have already won each of the last four grand slam doubles titles, starting with last year's U.S. Open, but are bidding to claim all four in the same calendar year.
The only men to have achieved the feat were the Australian pair of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951. (Editing by Gene Cherry)