No coach, no problem for Murray

August 17, 2010 09:41 PM
Andy Murray has been playing without a coach since late July

MASON, Ohio (AP) -- Andy Murray has been doing just fine so far without a coach.

Since splitting in late July with Miles Maclagan, his coach for three years, the fourth-ranked Murray has reached the final at Los Angeles and beaten top-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Roger Federer in Toronto to sail into this week's Cincinnati Masters on a strong note.

"I felt great last week,'' Murray said Tuesday during a news conference. "It's only been a few weeks (without) a coach, and I'm happy on my own. I played some of my best tennis last week. I think I've improved since Wimbledon.''

The 23-year-old Scot will take the No. 4 ranking and seed into a second-round match Wednesday against 58th-ranked Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Murray, who won in Cincinnati in 2008, is hoping that this year's tournament is the next step on the road to a US Open title.

Murray dropped just one set while rolling through the Rogers Cup in Toronto, capping his week with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals before overcoming several rain delays to knock off the second-ranked Federer 7-5, 7-5.

"Hardcourt has been my best surface for the past years,'' said Murray, who's reached two Grand Slam finals, the Australian Open this year and the 2008 US Open. "This year, I think I've played well in Grand Slams. I played very well last week.''

Murray will have to avoid the upset run that cropped up at the $2.4 million Western & Southern Financial Group Masters again on Tuesday, when 12th-seeded Mikhail Youzhny, 15th-seeded Ivan Ljubicic and 16th-seed Gael Monfils became the latest seeded players to get knocked out.

Youzhny fell to 41st-ranked Frenchman Richard Gasquet 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, just after Monfils was eliminated by 67th-ranked Colombian Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-4. Ljubicic was knocked out by No. 37 David Nalbandian 7-5, 6-0.

No. 19 John Isner, playing in Cincinnati for the first time since his epic five-set Wimbledon first-round win over Nicolas Mahut on June 25, had an easier time of it in his match against 61st-ranked Lukasz Kubot, who'd been sidelined since Wimbledon with a left ankle injury.

Isner had 10 aces to Kubot's one and 23 winners to Kubot's 10 in a 58-minute 6-2, 6-3 win that set up a second-round match against Nalbandian.

"I was fortunate,'' said Isner, who skipped last week's Toronto tournament and spent four nights resting at his North Carolina home. "That was his first match in a long time. He was a bit rusty out there, so I was fortunate there. That was one of the best matches I've played in a while. That's the best I've felt in a long time. I've been gassed for the last 2-3 weeks. That match at Wimbledon took a lot out of me, and it was hot in Atlanta. Sitting out Toronto was good for me.''

Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych cruised to a 6-4, 6-4 win over 102nd-ranked Paul-Henri Mathieu to become the first player to reach the round of 16. The seventh-seeded Berdych will face 20th-ranked Marcos Baghdatis, who was pushed by No. 25 Thomaz Bellucci to three sets and a tiebreaker before prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4).

Also on Tuesday, No. 36 Mardy Fish took out 34th-ranked Gilles Simon 7-6 (4), 7-5, 53rd-ranked Denis Istomin dominated No. 107 James Blake, 6-3, 6-0, 33rd-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber rallied for a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 63 Horacio Zeballos, No. 58 Jeremy Chardy knocked off No. 45 Florian Mayer, 6-2, 7-6 (4), 32nd-ranked Julien Benneteau edged No. 35 Michael Llodra 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in an all-French matchup, No. 27 Ernests Gulbis defeated No. 101 Donald Young 7-6 (5), 6-4 and 30th-ranked Lleyton Hewitt advanced when Yen-Hsun Lu retired with Hewitt leading 6-4, 4-0.