Andy Murray’s return to singles tennis action ended in a straight-set loss at the hands of Richard Gasquet at the Cincinnati Masters 2019.
Gasquet overcame a fighting Murray 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round where he will take on the fourth seeded Dominic Thiem. The two were on court for 96 minutes and while Murray lost, his fitness did not seem to be a problem, at least on the court.
Things swung drastically in the first set as Gasquet broke Murray in the very first game before holding on to go 2-0 up. Murray was even down a couple of break points in the third game but managed to hold on before breaking the Frenchman back and then holding serve to take a 3-2 lead in the set.
Gasquet, under pressure with a reasonably easily win in the sixth game before coming strongly at the Murray serve to break him yet again. Armed with a 4-3 lead, Gasquet served out to 15 and come within a game of taking the set lead.
It took the Brit till the ninth game to finally find his serving mojo as Murray won the game to love to stay in the set. However, Gasquet served out in the 10th game, winning to love as well to take a set lead over the Scotsman.
The second set began in the same manner as the first with Murray dropping serve in the very first game and then seeing Gasquet hold on to his serve to go 2-0 up in the set. A better service game, the third of the second set allowed Murray to narrow the lead down and while he got a break-point next game, the Frenchman held on to take a 3-1 lead in the second set.
A quick hold for Murray was followed by Gasquet racing off to a 40-0 lead before the Scott came back to take it to another deuce but lost out after that.
Things went on serve till the ninth game before Gasquet served out to complete the victory.
Nick Kyrgios here to watch the singles comeback of his buddy Andy Murray.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 12, 2019
Watched by fellow tennis player, Nick Kyrgios, this was Murray’s first singles match since he struggled to get going at the Australian Open. He had lost his opener against Roberto Bautista Agut there in January before opting for a hip surgery in a bid to resume to a pain-free day-to-day life. At that stage, Murray had announced there was a possibility he might never play again but his surgery looks to have gone off well as he made a return to competitive tennis two months ago to play in doubles action.
Murray combined with Serena Williams at Wimbledon and then featured in the men’s doubles with his brother Jamie Murray.
In some of the other matches of the day at the Cincinnati Open, another veteran Venus Williams made a winning start with a straight set win over fellow American Lauren Davis while ninth seeded Aryna Sabalenka overpowered Petra Martic 6-1, 6-4 to move to the second round.