The Fort Worth Press - Murray downs Wawrinka in Cincinnati battle of veterans

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Murray downs Wawrinka in Cincinnati battle of veterans
Murray downs Wawrinka in Cincinnati battle of veterans / Photo: © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Murray downs Wawrinka in Cincinnati battle of veterans

Andy Murray won his first hardcourt match of the summer on Monday, defeating Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 7-5 in the opening round of the ATP/WTA Cincinnati Masters.

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The 35-year-old Scot was facing his 37-year-old Swiss rival for the 22nd time with both treble Grand Slam champions still coming back to full form after long-term injuries over the past few seasons.

Murray lost in the first round at Washington and last week in Montreal while Wawrinka's last win came on grass two months ago at Queen's Club, London; he has not won on cement since the Australian Open last year.

Murray needed four match points to advance at a tournament he has won twice, in 2008 and 2011.

The veteran was competing here for the 17th time.

Compatriot Cameron Norrie joined Murray in the second round with his 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 defeat of Dane Holger Rune.

Murray claimed the opening set in the tiebreaker as he faced his longtime rival.

The Scot went down a break in the second set but got it back before finding himself at a set apiece after being broken in the final game.

The third set featured another pair of early service breaks; but Murray brought an end to hostilities with a break for 6-5 followed by a laboured concluding hold of serve.

In the closing stages, Murray loudly chastised himself as his grip on the set threatened to slip away against the Swiss whose best showing here was a semi-final a decade ago.

The contest was punctuated repeatedly by visits from the trainer for both men.

Other winners on opening day included 2016 champion Marin Cilic, who defeated Spain's Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3, and American John Isner, the 2013 finalist against Rafael Nadal, who advanced past France's Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (13/11), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).

In the WTA draw, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeated Egyptian Mayar Sherif 6-3, 6-2.

The world number 25 set up a second-round clash with eighth seed Garbine Muguruza, title-winner here in 2017.

The 23-year-old Kazakh lifted her game in the second set to end with five aces and 13 winners against Sharif.

"I was slow at the beginning but I got my rhythm and served well," Rybakina said. "But my serve always helps me."

The newest Grand Slam champion said she is trying to look ahead in her career as she adjusts to her status.

"Wimbledon gave me confidence but now I'm focusing on my other tournaments and trying not to think of the past," she said.

American Amanda Anisimova beat ninth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-4.

L.Davila--TFWP