Andy Murray loses to Mikael Ymer in the first round

Andy Murray loses first match of US hard-court swing as US Open preparations begin; Britain's Jack Draper and Kyle Edmund win and advance to the second round; Emma Raducanu loses in pro doubles debut; Defeated Venus Williams on return in singles

GB About: Andy Murray Publish: Last Saturday at 5:12 AM Edit: Last Saturday at 5:12 AM Author: Gardener


Andy MurrayAndy Murray fought hard but lost in his opening match at the Washington Citi Open to Mikael Ymer 7-6, 4-6, 6-1. Murray was the first to score points after an opening 19-ball rally, but it was the 23-year-old Swede who broke the Scot's serve and won the first game. It was the start of a head-to-head encounter that saw Murray fail to convert four set points as the world No. 115 prevailed in a grueling 80-minute first set. Ymer looked on course for a straight-set win when he paused and led 3-1 in the second set, but Murray would then win five of the next six games to level the match as his opponent suffered from convulsions seemed to suffer . However, after a comfort break ahead of the decider, Ymer emerged with renewed energy and it was Murray who struggled physically as the younger man raced to victory. I thought there was good tennis in the first set. After that we both had a bit of physical problems. The level of tennis wasn't great," Murray said. “Obviously in the first set he had chances to end that. I had put in a point at 6-5 at the time... It was the second straight tournament Murray has faced physical problems, including cramps at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Rhod Island last month. “I think maybe he seemed to cramp up a bit in the second set but he recovered absolutely fine after the break at the end of the [second] set. Went off to change and cool off a bit and he recovered well for the third while I didn't really. Yeah, just frustrating," Murray said. "Actually, I got a cramp in Newport right at the end of one of my matches there. I struggled a bit with that in the last two tournaments. Despite Murray's exit, there were two British victories on the opening day of the tournament as Jack Draper and Kyle Edmund both reached the second round. The 20-year-old Draper, who impressed when he reached the second round of Wimbledon in June, put on a dominant performance and defeated American Stefan Kozlov, 7-5, 6-2. Draper's only problem came early in the match when he was down 3-0 and almost gave up a double break, but the left-hander showed his growing maturity to break away from recovering from the early slip will be rewarded with another clash against world No. 8 Andrey Rublev, whom he lost in a three-set thriller at the Madrid Open in May. "For me, I know I've got the tennis" , Draper said. Edmund secured his first ATP Tour win in 29 months when he defeated Japanese qualifier Yosuke Watanuki 6-4, 7-6. He was sidelined for almost two years as he underwent three knee surgeries but showed in his return to the top flight Washington an impressive performance. Edmund's win means he will play compatriot Dan Evans for a third-round spot. During the long periods that I was out there — not having picked up a racquet for five months — it was those events that made me imagine myself out here," Edmund said. Elsewhere, Emma Raducanu's professional doubles debut as Briton and fellow competitor ended in straight sets Teenage Clara Tauson lost 6-4, 6-1 in the opening round to Romania's Monica Niculescu and Czech Lucie Hradecka. The defending US Open champion and her Danish colleague , also 19, failed to gain any points as they quickly lost the first round game to their more experienced challengers. Just 10 minutes had elapsed before Niculescu and Hradecka made it three in a row before quickly winning a fourth. Raducanu and Tauson were finally able to get the break to win game five and seemed to have settled into a more comfortable partnership as they won two at the trot, but they were easily outclassed by their opponents who took the opener on their third opportunity won when Niculescu's forehand sped past the outstretched racket of an unfortunate Raducanu. A better start to the second set saw Raducanu and Tauson equalize in a game each before the superiority of their more experienced opponents soon showed, earning the break in game four when they ran away with the set and Niculescu the match with a volley sealed to end Raducanu's first foray into the format. Raducanu will return to the court for her singles match in the first round on Tuesday when he takes on American Louisa Chirico. Meanwhile, former world No. 1 Venus Williams suffered an opening-round defeat on her return to singles after almost a year. The 42-year-old, who was playing singles for the first time since last August, lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino in Washington. "Just a little rusty," Williams said. "I also positioned myself really well in the third set." "I wish I could have pulled off this match for the audience and for the tournament. The seven-time Grand Slam champion will compete in WTA 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati over the next two weeks.


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