Ivan Lendl had a tough time cracking the US Open code, finishing as runner-up on three straight occasions.
As he took on arch rival John McEnroe in the US Open final on this day back in 1985, his grand slam final record stood at 1-6.
The clash got off to a disastrous start for the Czech as McEnroe jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first set, winning 12 of the first 13 points. But Lendl took the set to a tiebreaker, which he won with ease.
The next two sets were a breeze, despite heavy thunderstorm threatening play, as Lendl lifted the title with a 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 verdict, becoming the first non-US citizen to capture the US Open men’s title in eight years.
1988: Javier Sotomayor of Cuba high jumps the then-world record of 2.43m.
1990: Gabriela Sabatini defeats Steffi Graf in straight sets to win the US Open singles title.
2001: Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh scores 114 against Sri Lanka in the SSC Test in Colombo, becoming the youngest player ever to make a Test century.
2013: Sebastian Vettel comfortably wins the Italian Grand Prix, his sixth of the season.
Andy Murray needed a straightforward victory and he got it as the British number one breezed past Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci to reach the US Open fourth round.
Murray survived two draining encounters in the opening two rounds at Flushing Meadows but the Scot was able finally to conserve some energy, winning 6-3 6-2 7-5.
He now faces big-serving South African Kevin Anderson, ranked 14th in the world, for a place in the quarter-finals.
— LZ Granderson (@Locs_n_Laughs) September 5, 2015
“It was a very important win for me today,” Murray said. “My last match was extremely tough physically and mentally. It was a lot cooler today, which helped, so to get the win in three sets in much cooler conditions, I’ll get a day to recover now and get ready for the next one.”
Anderson stretched Novak Djokovic to five sets at Wimbledon in July and the 29-year-old may herald the start of a fiendish run for Murray, possibly preceding Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer, before Djokovic in the final.
Murray is renowned as one of the most athletic players on the tour and, despite testing wins over Nick Kyrgios and Adrian Mannarino already in New York, the number three seed showed few signs of fatigue under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Bellucci, the world number 30, has never been past the second round in this tournament before but he had beaten Murray in their single previous meeting, albeit on clay in 2011.
Save for an early break, however, there were few signs of a repeat as Murray got straight back on terms and cranked up the pressure midway through the first set, creating four break points in a lengthy eight-deuce game but failing to convert any.
Bellucci was going toe-to-toe with his opponent from the baseline, where his whipping forehand found depth and angle, but when the points became more varied Murray proved too quick in thought and execution.
A fortunate net-chord helped the Scot open up another chance at 4-3 and this time he took it as a sizzling forehand pass proved too cute for Bellucci to retrieve.
Murray served out the first set with ease and carried his momentum into the second, where he broke again in the opening game thanks to a Bellucci double fault.
The Brazilian stuck to his guns at the back but just as his aggression increased, so did the skill of Murray’s defence and a brilliant backhand pass at 4-2 set the Briton on course for the double break and a two-set lead.
With nothing to lose, Bellucci rolled the dice, unleashing his forehand with greater freedom, just as Italy’s Fabio Fognini had the night before when trailing Rafael Nadal.
There was to be no late drama this time, however, as Murray broke at 5-5 and served out a comfortable victory in two hours and 11 minutes.
Spanish eighth seed Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, ousted Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 7-5, for his 750th career tour-level match triumph while top-ranked Djokovic stayed on a last-eight collision course with Nadal by dispatching Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
The reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, whose only US Open title came in 2011, won 14 of the final 17 games.
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) September 3, 2015
“From that 4-all moment, I played really well,” Djokovic said.
Nadal was down 5-4 in the first set tie-breaker before battling back against Schwartzman.
“Happy to be through,” Nadal said. “Was a tough battle. I feel lucky to be through. To take that first set was very important to me.”
Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 US Open champion, improved to 22-1 in his past 23 US Open matches after missing 2012 and 2014 due to injury and finishing as the 2011 runner-up.
Canadian 10th seed Milos Raonic, who could meet Nadal in the fourth round, fired 18 aces in dispatching Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/1).
Defending champion Marin Cilic and seventh seed David Ferrer neared a fourth-round meeting as well.
Croatian ninth seed Cilic fired 19 aces in defeating 139th-ranked Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.
Spain’s Ferrer, the 2013 French Open runner-up who missed the past 2 1/2 months with an elbow injury, downed 102nd-ranked Serb Filip Krajinovic 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4).
“I’m very happy I’m in the third round,” said Ferrer. “It’s a nice comeback playing on these courts.”