Washington | Murray is back
Andy Murray is back on court. He accepted a wild card into the Washington 500 event and scored his first win since pulling out of Wimbledon to reach the second round of the Citi Open where he faces the man who has taken over as British No.1 Kyle Edmund.
Murray fully tested the hip which forced him onto the side-lines after last year’s Wimbledon to come through against Mackenzie McDonald of the US, 3-6 6-4 7-5.
But after 18 months which included surgery and a couple of failed attempts at comebacks, the former world N.1, not surprisingly perhaps, looked rusty on his first outing on a hard court.
It was a tough, tough match, It could have gone either way. Andy Murray
The Scot, who is now ranked 832, failed to convert any of the five match points he held while serving for the win against the American at 5-4 in the decider before eventually closing out the match three games later.
Murray dropped six of seven games to lose the opening set, part of a stretch in which he was broken in four of five service games.
But he also managed to show flashes of the form that carried him to three grand slam titles and a pair of Olympic gold medals. There was a cross-court passing winner at just the right angle. There was a full-sprint backhand flick of a lob winner. Plenty of muttering to himself between points, too.
“It was a tough, tough match,” Murray told the ATP Tour website. “It could have gone either way. Obviously if you lose a match like that, it’s a tough one. When I lost to [Teymuraz] Gabashvili here [three years ago], I lost serving for the match, so I was thinking about that a little bit, too. It is just nice to get through.”
The 31-year-old added: “I wasn’t dictating many of the points. I wasn’t hitting the ball that cleanly. I just fought and tried to make it tough for him. Made a few little adjustments here and there. But mentally, it was a big one to get through.”
In other matches, Noah Rubin got past Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 6-4; Tim Smyczek beat Ricardas Berankis 7-6(4) 6-2, and Malek Jaziri defeated Evgeny Donskoy 6-4 6-1.
Rubin now faces No.2 seed John Isner, Jaziri plays No.1 seed and defending champion Alexander Zverev, while Smyczek meets Zverev’s older brother, No.15 seed Mischa.