Andy Murray wins his opening match at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati
Andy Murray makes good on a main draw wild card to claim his opening match against Richard Gasquet at the Western & Southern Open on Monday; "I served good, lot of free points on my serve and I thought I was taking control of the rallies when I had the opportunity so it was a good match"
Last Updated: 17/08/21 7:33pm
Andy Murray made the most of his wildcard entry to the Western & Southern Open with an opening-round 6-4 6-4 triumph against Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
The rain-delayed encounter at the ATP 1000 event marked a return for Murray after his withdrawal from the singles at the Tokyo Olympics with a thigh strain, although he did play in the doubles alongside Joe Salisbury.
Murray, who won the tournament in 2008 and 2011, finished with 38 winners for the match, including 14 aces over the world No 53.
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"I thought I did well, I think I moved pretty well for my first singles match in a while on the hard courts, certainly more confident in my movements than I did when I played him here a couple of years ago," the 34-year-old said.
"First singles match I've played since I've had the metal hip put in, so I was a bit apprehensive, and he uses all of the angles on the court really well, makes you move a lot so, you need to move well against him and I did that tonight.
"I served good, lot of free points on my serve and I thought I was taking control of the rallies when I had the opportunity so it was a good match."
He will next face Hubert Hurkacz after the ninth seed beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-1.
In his first press conference since the Olympics, Murray on Sunday admitted he would not be making any long-term goals until after the US Open.
"I think I need to set short-term goals, it is what's really important just now because it's been very difficult to plan medium and longer-term targets because of various different issues that I've had this year," he said.
Murray made it to Wimbledon after two hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019, when it was unclear whether the Briton would be able to play tennis again.
Wimbledon was Murray's first Grand Slam of this year, after he contracted COVID-19 before the Australian Open and missed Roland Garros, and he reached the third round before losing to Denis Shapovalov in straight sets.
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Britain's Heather Watson also secured an impressive first-round success having come through qualifying to make the main draw of the event in Cincinnati.
The 67th-ranked Watson won 72 per cent of her first-serve points and saved four break points en route to a 6-2 3-6 6-1 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in just over two hours.
Dan Evans, who missed the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, had a slow start but fought back to claim the second set in his match against Diego Schwartzman, who celebrated his 29th birthday in style.
But the 10th seed and two-time US Open quarter-finalist proved too strong, eventually winning 6-2 4-6 6-3 over Evans in a rain-interrupted encounter.