On Thursday night Andy Murray’s win 6-4, 6-3 over Pablo Cuevas. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about that was that it did not seem remarkable at all. This was a drama-free saunter more than any other match he has played through to the next round since his hip problem blew up in the summer of 2017.
Andy Murray saved all his points including two with aces while faced only four break points. It is too early to say that Murray is clearly back to his best. But the win’s routine feeling was the most encouraging thing. The days when he regularly squashed players without fuss and was a fixture in the world’s top four could have been a flashback to the whole occasion.
Murray replied that in terms of matches that he had won, it was his most straightforward outing since he received the implant of a metal hip in January. He hit the ball very clean from the beginning and he didn’t let his opponent have too many chances, didn’t have too many lulls.
Admittedly, Uruguay’s Cuevas is the world No 45 and a sturdy campaigner although he is preferring the clay that predominates in South America, not at his most comfortable on hard courts. On Thursday Murray capitalised clinically by breaking both times when Cuevas mislaid that fizzing first serve for one game in each set despite an impressive 14 aces.
Indeed, that was a peculiar night. Rain delayed the start, and it was 3.01am when Murray finally came back from dropping the first set to win 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. At the time, after reaching his first quarter-final in over a year, it was thought that he was just releasing emotion, but later people learned that the realisation that the hip was showing little sign of improvement and this tears were prompted by intense pain. Murray reacted to the victory by dissolving into great wracking sobs on his chair just to add to the unexpectedness of the whole occasion. After failing to recover, he was forced to pull out of his next match.