Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Sports / Tennis

Murray downs Wawrinka in creaking clash of veterans

China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-17 09:34
Share - WeChat
Andy Murray roars in delight after beating Stanislas Wawrinka at the Cincinnati Masters on Monday. USA TODAY SPORTS

CINCINNATI-Andy Murray won his first hard-court match of the summer on Monday, defeating Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5 in the opening round of the ATP/WTA Cincinnati Masters.

The 35-year-old Scot was facing his 37-year-old Swiss rival for the 22nd time with both treble Grand Slam champions still coming back to full form after long-term injuries over the past few seasons.

Murray lost in the first round at Washington and last week in Montreal while Wawrinka's last win came on grass two months ago at Queen's Club, London; he has not won on a hard court since the Australian Open last year.

Murray needed four match points to advance at a tournament he has won twice, in 2008 and 2011. The veteran was competing here for the 17th time.

"We're not young anymore," Murray said. "Both of us gave our best right until the end.

"Matches like this are a lot tougher than when we were in our mid-20s.

"Both of us love this sport, we've had our issues with injuries the last few years.

"The sport has been a huge part of my life, I started playing when I was four."

Compatriot Cameron Norrie joined Murray in the second round with his 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 defeat of Dane Holger Rune.

The Scot began to well up as he described his love for the game.

"When I was out injured and not sure if I would be able to come back, I remembered the reasons why you play the game," Murray said.

"It's taken a lot of effort and struggles to get back (after two hip surgeries) and play at this level again.

"I want to make the most of it while I'm still able to."

The Scot claimed the opening set in the tiebreaker as he faced his longtime rival.

Trainer kept busy

The contest was punctuated repeatedly by visits from the trainer for both men.

After half a decade of injury problems including a pair of hip surgeries, Murray knows the remainder of his season, and career, will depend on his physical state.

"Physically I felt pretty good for the last few months, but in a lot of the tournaments I've lost in the second round," he said.

"I've not had that opportunity to have a really good tournament and then maybe take a break and rest.

"I hope I can get to that level again where I'm consistently getting to the latter stages of events, and therefore, we will be able to plan and schedule my tournaments better."

The three-time Grand Slam champion was tested to his limit over almost three hours against Wawrinka, like himself still recovering from long-term problems (foot and knee).

"There have been some good moments this year, but it's not been easy these last few years to stay fit and healthy and play enough tennis to build confidence, get robust enough to compete week in, week out," Murray said.

"It's positive that I got to play more matches this year. Hopefully I can continue that through the end of the season."

Murray's comeback effort this season has included finals at Sydney in January and on grass in Stuttgart two months ago.

The Scot went down a break in the second set but got it back before finding himself at a set apiece after being broken in the final game.

The third set featured another pair of early service breaks, but Murray seized the initiative with a break for 6-5 followed by a labored concluding hold of serve.

In the closing stages, Murray loudly chastised himself as his grip on the set threatened to slip away against the Swiss whose best showing here was a semifinal a decade ago.

Rybakina finds rhythm

Other winners on opening day included 2016 champion Marin Cilic, who defeated Spain's Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3, and American John Isner, the 2013 finalist against Rafael Nadal, who advanced past France's Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (11),3-6, 7-6 (4).

Italy's 12th seed Matteo Berrettini, the 2021 Wimbledon finalist, lost his second straight match as his hard-court return stalls.

The 26-year-old Rome native was beaten by Frances Tiafoe 7-6 (3), 4-6,7-6 (5).

In the WTA draw, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeated Egyptian Mayar Sherif 6-3, 6-2.

The world No 25 set up a second-round clash with eighth seed Garbine Muguruza, the title winner here in 2017.

The 23-year-old Rybakina of Kazakhstan lifted her game in the second set to end with five aces and 13 winners against Sharif.

"I was slow at the beginning but I got my rhythm and served well," Rybakina said. "But my serve always helps me."

The newest Grand Slam champion said she is trying to look ahead in her career as she adjusts to her status.

"Wimbledon gave me confidence but now I'm focusing on my other tournaments and trying not to think of the past," she said.

American Amanda Anisimova beat ninth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-4,6-4.


Most Popular


What's Hot
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349