Cincinnati, Aug 16 (Ajit Weekly News) A week after being bundled out by American Taylor Fritz in the National Bank Open first round at Montreal, Scottish stalwart Andy Murray wrote another chapter in his long-running rivalry with Stan Wawrinka, defeating the Swiss player 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-5 for a hard-fought first-round victory at the Western & Southern Open here.
Murray, a former world No. 1, showed tremendous fighting qualities during the two-hour, 34-minute match as he covered the baseline with elan to earn points. The 35-year-old also caused damage with his backhand, while he rallied from a break down in the third set to improve to 13-9 in their ATP head-to-head.
“The court is pretty lively when the weather is like this. Physically I feel tired,” Murray was quoted as saying by atptour.com. “I had some issues with cramp during the match, the same as Washington, so that is something I need to get on top of.
“I tried to take the ball on a little more and finish points at the net. I wasn’t that successful when I came up, but the intention was there. I was a little more offensive on the second-serve return. Last game I was just fighting, trying to find a way through,” he added.
Following his marathon two-hour and 54-minute win, Murray now holds a 35-14 record in Cincinnati, having lifted the trophy in 2008 and 2011. The 35-year-old will look for more success at the hard-court event when he faces England’s Cameron Norrie in the second round after the ninth seed edged Dane Holger Rune 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4.
“He is very different to how Stan plays, being a lefty,” Murray said looking ahead to the Norrie showdown. “Flat on the backhand, heavy topspin on the forehand. We have spent a little bit of time on the court together, so there won’t be many surprises out there for me.”
Murray arrived in Ohio off the back of a disappointing first-round exit in Montreal last week. However, the 46-time tour-level champion has shown signs of promise this season, reaching finals in Sydney and Stuttgart, helping him rise back into the Top-50 in the ATP Rankings for the first time since 2018.
Wawrinka was competing at the ATP Masters 1000 event for the 13th time, with his best result a run to the semifinals in 2012.
–Ajit Weekly News
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