In a matchup of three-time Grand Slam champions, Andy Murray defeated Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5 in almost three hours during the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday in Cincinnati.
The former world No. 1 from Great Britain won 51 of his 64 first-service points (79.7 percent) and converted three of five break points against his Swiss foe. Wawrinka had an 11-10 edge in aces despite the loss.
Wawrinka led 5-4 in the third set before Murray won his service game and battled back to break Wawrinka’s next serve. Murray went on to win on his fourth match point.
The victory made Murray 13-9 all-time against Wawrinka.
“The court is pretty lively when the weather is like this. Physically I feel tired,” Murray said after the match. “I had some issues with cramp during the match, the same as Washington, so that is something I need to get on top of.”
Murray, who won titles in Cincinnati in 2008 and 2011, is unseeded at the ATP 1000-level event, while Wawrinka continues to play on a protected ranking as he returns to competition from a foot injury.
Murray will move on to face countryman and ninth seed Cameron Norrie. Norrie needed about two hours and 35 minutes to dispatch Denmark’s Holger Rune 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4.
“We have spent a little bit of time on the court together, so there won’t be many surprises out there for me,” Murray said of his next opponent.
Of the four seeded players who took the court during the early matches Monday, all four advanced, but three had to survive three-set matches. Joining Norrie were 13th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, who beat Slovakia’s Alex Molcan 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, and Spanish 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who outlasted Argentine Francisco Cerundolo 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2.
Croatia’s Marin Cilic, the 14th seed, made quicker work of Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar with a 6-3, 6-3 triumph.
John Isner won a pair of lengthy tiebreakers to defeat France’s Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (11), 3-6, 7-6 (4). An American seeking his first Cincinnati title, Isner smashed 31 aces to Bonzi’s 16 and saved three set points during the back-and-forth first-set tiebreak before pushing ahead.
Other winners Monday included American qualifier Marcos Giron, Russian Aslan Karatsev and Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori.
The evening schedule was set to feature Russia’s Karen Khachanov against American wild card Sebastian Korda, Italian 12th seed Matteo Berrettini against Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. and Bulgarian 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov against Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
–Field Level Media
Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova outlasted Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Monday in the first round of the AGEL Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Azarenka, who reached the finals…
Fourth-seeded Frances Tiafoe opened with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over wild card Yasutaka Uchiyama in first-round action of the Japan Open Tennis Championships on Monday. Eight aces helped Tiafoe win…
Top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated No. 2 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes Sunday to win the Tel Aviv Watergen Open…
ATP roundup: Frances Tiafoe opens with win in Tokyo
ATP roundup: Novak Djokovic wins title in Tel Aviv
Barbora Krejcikova captures inaugural Estonia title
ATP roundup: Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic to meet in Tel Aviv final