Former World no.1 Andy Murray made a winning start to the Cincinnati Open as he defeated Richard Gasquet by 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round. Murray was playing on hard court after a long gap of two years but he was able to bring his A-game to the table.
Murray, who recently qualified for the third round of Wimbledon 2021 where he lost to Denis Shapovalov, was able to get the much-needed win against the Frenchman. The Briton felt he was able to take control of the long rallies and came up with his best against the World No. 53.
Murray smashed 38 winners, including 15 aces, to Gasquet’s 20 winners. He won 81 percent of first-serve points to his opponent’s 61 per cent and committed 28 unforced errors.
Murray stated that he moved pretty well and had confidence in himself.
“I thought I did well. I moved pretty well for my first singles match in a while on hard courts,” Murray said. “Certainly, a little bit more confidence in my movement than when I played him a couple of years ago. It was my first match [in 2019] I’d played since [I had] the metal hip in so I was a bit apprehensive.
“He uses all the angles on the court really well and makes you move a lot so you need to move well against him and I did that tonight. I served well. I got a lot of free points on my serve. I thought I was taking control of the rallies when I had the opportunities so it was a good match.”
Meanwhile, this was the ninth win for Murray against Gasquet. Furthermore, the experienced player has won Cincinnati Open in 2008 and 2011 and he finished as the runners-up in 2016.
“The courts and the balls are pretty fast. Obviously playing in the evening slows it down a little bit but that was to my advantage,” Murray said.
“He played with a lot of spin and during the day the ball gets up very high but he wasn’t able to get as high on me today so I was able to step in and control a lot of the points… “It’s amazing. They were saying it’s the 16th year I’ve been here. I don’t think I’ve played any tournament more than that.”