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Murray's return to singles action ends in straight sets defeat in US

 

Back in old routine: Andy Murray
Back in old routine: Andy Murray

By Robert Jones

Andy Murray's hotly anticipated return to singles action saw him show promising signs in Cincinnati but ultimately fall to a straight sets defeat to Richard Gasquet.

The Scot was clearly enjoying himself on his return at the Western and Southern Open in the USA, smiling away and even filming the crowd as he walked out to the court for his match.

And although the result may have not gone his way, there was enough to suggest there is more to come from Murray, who was never expected to go deep in the tournament anyway but was instead using it as a way to regain his fitness.

Murray's service was broken in the opening game of his first-round clash with Frenchman Gasquet, and the understandably rusty-looking former World No.1, who is working his way back from hip surgery, found himself within a point of a 3-0 deficit.

However, warming to his task, he fought back to lead 3-2 before Gasquet, employing a series of drop shots as he moved the Briton around the court, turned the screw to take the first set 6-4.

The second set started in much the same way as the first, as Gasquet, who missed the first four months of the season with a groin injury, broke in the opening game and then backed it up to lead 2-0.

But Murray showed a deft touch to hold serve with a half-volleyed lob and then produced a string of winners to push his opponent hard before he made it 3-1 with an ace.

The Scot once again showed his mettle, putting pressure on the Gasquet serve and holding his next two to make it 4-3 with his game improving all the time.

Both men held to allow the Frenchman to serve for the match at 5-4, and he needed no second invitation to seal a 6-4 6-4 victory.

It remains to be seen if Murray will commit to playing in the US Open, which will be a new challenge given it is best-of-five, but he has recently added the inaugural Zhuhai Championships and China Open to his upcoming schedule.

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