- Lloyd Harris def. Kyle Edmund 7-5, 7-6(1)
- Fernando Verdasco def. Andy Murray [WC] 6-4, 6-4
COLOGNE, GERMANY – Both Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund went out in their first-round matches at the Bett1HULKS Indoors.
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Lloyd Harris def. Kyle Edmund 7-5, 7-6(1)
If the question was whether Kyle Edmund was back up and raring to go after a knee injury ruled him out of Roland Garros, the answer was a resounding no. Qualifier Lloyd Harris had very much gotten used to the rather slow indoor conditions at Cologne and his movement was second to none, as he was everywhere any shot of Edmund’s was.
It was a strangely passive performance by the British No. 2. Usually he can rely on a potent serve-forehand one-two punch combination for free points but there was nothing aggressive about his game, as he preferred a more patient build-up of points.
The first set was a scrappy affair, trading breaks at the start before Harris regained the advantage. Another swap of breaks at the end of the set ensured that the South African was still ahead, as he wobbled the first time trying to serve out the set, and it took three set points to get the job done.
It was a far better performance from Edmund in the second set, but that was matched in turn with very solid play by Harris, with not a sniff of a break until the tie-break. Harris surged into a 4-0 lead, and despite Edmund getting a solitary point on the board, it was one way traffic for the qualifier as he secured a straight sets win.
Fernando Verdasco def. Andy Murray [WC] 6-4, 6-4
If the pace of the Edmund match felt pedestrian. The two old war-horses of Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco put paid to that, playing at a fair old click. Although Murray had his chances to break early, maybe he was dwelling on that in the next game as Verdasco broke before the first change of ends.
The Spaniard earned himself a double-break cushion but found himself pegged back and Murray had chances to break while Verdasco was serving for the first set but could not quite stop it slipping away.
Mirroring the first set, Verdasco broke once more before the first change of ends but this time Murray was able to strike back immediately. Verdasco broke once more but Murray, showing some sharpness returning to his game at the net saved a match-point on his own serve to force Verdasco to try and serve it out.
There was a flurry of hope as he had four break points in total in that last game but Verdasco just had a little too much for him, as he finally closed out the match.
As reported by BBC Sport, Murray said, after the match: “I need to get back to playing my game on the court, I’ve kind of gone away from that a little bit. I’m maybe making a few more mistakes than usual because of that.
“I need to practise, I need to play matches and physically I need to get better. Some things I did a little bit better but overall it was not that much better than the match in Paris.”
All in all, a disappointing night for the Brits in Cologne, but both Edmund and Murray will stay in Cologne for the second running of the tournament next week.
The bett1HULKS Championships take place between 19-25 October.
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