Andy Murray overcomes Corentin Moutet and VAR 'farce' to seal US Open victory

Technology malfunction fails to stop Briton beating Frenchman in straight sets at Flushing Meadows

Andy Murray on his way to a straight-sets US Open victory over Corentin Moutet at Flushing Meadows on August 30, 2023. Getty
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Andy Murray has eased his way into the US Open second round after overcoming France's Corentin Moutet – and a malfunctioning video-assist review system (VAR) – at Flushing Meadows.

With the British veteran 15-30 down in a game where he was serving for victory, Moutet requested the technology to check a double bounce which was called against him by umpire Louise Engzell.

Although replay footage displayed on stadium screens appeared to show the point had been correctly awarded, Engzell said officials were unable to review the incident properly and so attempts to use the video review system – being deployed at the US Open for the first time this year – were abandoned.

“This is supposed to be the official feed,” Engzell told the two players as she pointed to her tablet as she attempted to watch a replay of the incident. “I have nothing here. VR has stopped working.”

Addressing the whole stadium, she said: “Unfortunately, the VR [video review] is not working, what you are watching here is from television so the original call stands.”

Murray, who went on to serve out for the match, was unimpressed with the bizarre situation. “It took about four minutes to make a decision,” said the 36-year-old 2012 champion. “I'm pro using technology to get to the right calls – but you've got to have it working. When it goes like that, it turns into a bit of a farce.

“I don't know exactly how it's supposed to work and who's supposed to make the decision on it because it was quite clear from the second video that the ball had bounced twice.

“We watched it about 10 times. It clearly is not the umpire that's making that decision. I don't know how the technology works.

“But it obviously didn't go to plan in a pretty important moment of the match. So, yeah, it would be good if they could get that fixed.”

Murray, who came into the event having recovered from an abdominal tear, dominated the first set but a flat passage of play saw him fall a break down in the second as Moutet, all slices and drop shots, began to impose himself.

However, Murray had a let-off when Moutet double-faulted on set point, and then a lucky net cord helped the Scot break back.

Murray was back in full irritant mode and it got to Moutet, who smashed his racket on the floor, twice, as the second set got away from him.

Moutet suffered a nasty fall on the baseline, landing on his racket hand, but was able to continue and saved four break points in his next service game.

But Murray struck at the next opportunity and served out for victory – following the VAR debacle – in just under three hours.

“He's one of the most skilful players on the tour, with so many ways to disrupt you, and he always causes a little bit of chaos,” said the Scot.

“I hope it was entertaining, there were some fun points, so I'm happy to get through in straight sets.

“It was a long one, but the way we play it was probably always going to be like that. Three hours is a lot shorter than some of my matches!”

Victory in his 200th Grand Slam match means Murray will now meet Bulgarian 19th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who saved three match points in a five-setter against Alex Molcan, in the second round.

Updated: August 30, 2023, 11:21 AM