Cincy round-up: Murray tops Zverev, Serena survives scare

Andy Murray defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; Serena made to rally against Dutch qualifier Rus

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Serena Williams

Andy Murray scored his first win over a top-10 player since 2017, as he edged past fifth seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the second round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday.

Even as the Brit, playing his first competitive tournament since November 2019, was in top combat mode, Zverev’s mental demons came to haunt him again towards the end.

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The German had overturned a 4-1 lead in the decider by winning five games in a row. But while serving for the match at 5-4, Zverev, served three double faults to give Murray a whiff of a chance. That was all that the three-time Grand Slam champion needed, and nicked the set 7-5 to book a place in the quarterfinals.

 

“It was a big one to get through,” said the 33-year-old Murray, who was made battle for two hours and 31 minutes.

“I’m satisfied to get through it against a top player having not played for such a long time and I get another opportunity to compete again tomorrow. This will give me an idea of where my body is at.”

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Murray, who hasn’t quite been able to come back from a hip surgery, will next face big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.

Marathon match

Like Murray, Serena Williams was also forced to rally in her second round match against over Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus.

Two-time Cincinnati champion Serena saved a set point in the opening set and had to dig deep in the third to overcome Rus 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(0). At two hours and 48 minutes, it was the longest match she has been in since her first round defeat to Virginie Razzano at the 2012 French Open.

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“Now I feel like I have passed that test, and now I can pass the test at the Open, playing Ashe Stadium,” Serena said after the match.

After frittering away a 5-2 lead in the deciding set, the 38-year-old American was made to dig deep when Rus served for the match at 6-5. In a close game, Serena finally managed to convert her third break point to push the deciding set into a tie-breaker. Having got through that bump, she ran away 7-0 in the tie-break.

Meanwhile, World No 1 Novak Djokovic, who withdrew from the doubles event at the tournament due to a neck strain, looked in some amount of discomfort before beating Ricardas Berankis  7-6 (2), 6-4.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka, competing in her first WTA singles match since the season resumed, battled past Karolina Muchova 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 to set up a clash with Dayana Yastremska.

Important results:

ATP Second Round Singles
[1] Novak Djokovic (Serbia) d, [Q] Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) 7-6(2), 6-4
Filip Krajinovic (Serbia) d. [2] Dominic Thiem (Austria) 6-2, 6-1
[3] Daniil Medvedev (Russia) d. [Q] Marcos Giron (United States), 6-4, 6-4
[WC] Andy Murray (Great Britain) d. [5] Alexander Zverev (Germany) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) d. [12] Denis Shapovalov (Canada), 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4
[Q] Marton Fucsovics (Hungary) d. [14] Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
[WC] Tennys Sandgren (United States) d. [15] Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada), 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-6(5)

WTA Second Round Singles
[3] Serena Williams (United States) d. [Q] Arantxa Rus (Netherlands), 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(0)
[4] [WC] Naomi Osaka (Japan) d. Karolina Muchova (Czech Republic), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) d. [Q] CiCi Bellis (USA) 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5
Marie Bouzkova (Czech Republic) d. [6] Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) d [7] Madison Keys (United States) 6-4 6-1
[8] Johanna Konta (Great Britain) d. [Q] Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium), 6-2, 6-0
Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) d. Caroline Garcia (France) 6-2, 7-6(8)

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