In his first match of the year, Andy Murray made a winning return to the ATP Tour with a hard-fought 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-1 victory against Frances Tiafoe at the Western & Southern Open on Saturday.
Playing his first ATP event since capturing the European Open in Antwerp last October, the former World No. 1 saved a set point in the first set tie-break before clinching the match in two hours and 28 minutes.
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Murray said he felt fine physically and ‘moved well’ but will take some time to start playing well after the long hiatus. The Brit has been hobbled with injuries the past three years and has learnt to be more patient.
“Yeah, I should have lower expectations,” the former World No 1 said.
“I know the tennis will come, but it’s also not going to come back immediately, so, I should not expect, straight off the bat, to be playing perfect. For example, the first set today, the tiebreak and stuff was bad level. It was not good tennis, in my opinion.”
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Having got through the opening test, Murray will face World No 7 Alexander Zverev in the second round. In their only previous encounter, at the 2016 Australian Open, Murray defeated the German 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.
“[Zverev has] obviously been up at the top of the game for a number of years now,” said the three-time Grand Slam champion.
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“It will be a good test for me, for sure… He moves well for a big guy, solid off the ground. [He] has struggled at times with his serve. When he’s serving well, he’s obviously one of the top players in the world.”
Canadian trio wins
Denis Shapovalov, seeded 12, showed little rust in his first tournament since February as he disposed of 2016 champion Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3 while the 20-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime overcame a nervous start to score a 6-4, 6-1 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.
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Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic fired 19 aces to topple Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 and set up a second-round clash with either Dan Evans or Russian 10th seed Andrey Rublev.