By Ros Satar, in Cincinnati
- Lucas Pouille  def. Andy Murray [WC] 6-1 1-6 6-4
- Murray not playing before US Open
CINCINNATI, USA – Andy Murray was edged out of the first round of the Western & Southern Open by No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille as he continues to look for consistency.
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Lucas Pouille  def. Andy Murray [WC] 6-1 1-6 6-4
No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille won his first career match against Cincinnati two-time champion Andy Murray as he continues his comeback from an 11-month injury lay-off. After three matches under his belt on the grass, Murray was a late withdrawal from Wimbledon where he felt he was not ready for the gruelling stress of best-of-five set matches.
It was not a solid start from the Brit whose first serve percentage was way down at 46% while the Frenchman taking advantage of the slow start to claim his first set from Murray in five attempts.
The second set though was a lot more solid from Murray who broke Pouille immediately and kept him at bay with no break points against his own serve as he levelled up the match. The match turned after a long game at the start of the decider saw Murray broken, and although he had a chance to level, Pouille hung on the advantage, forcing Murray to save a match point before Pouille claimed his first victory over the former World No. 1.
After the match, Murray said: “Today’s start of the match was not good at all. It was a pretty bad first set, and then after that, you know, got a little bit better. Managed to hang in a little bit in the second set. I lost the first service game. I was 40-15 up and was quite a long game, that one. And then had a few little chances on his serve as the set went on but wasn’t able to take them.
“I physically felt okay. You know, it’s quick conditions here. You know, it’s pretty fast. Obviously when I played Washington, slightly slower, also played a couple of matches in the evening there, was quite slow, whereas here obviously quite lively. And I feel like he was a little bit sharper than me out there. I maybe wasn’t reacting as quickly to some shots I would have liked.”
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Holding up for the US Open
The prospect of five set matches though is going to be another aspect altogether, as Murray confirmed that he would not be squeezing in more court time at Winston-Salem the week prior to the US Open.
He continued: “I need to see once I’m in that position. I have played four three-set matches and a couple long ones in Washington. Although I didn’t feel great, I managed to get through them.
“Hopefully with another couple of weeks and training, and I’m still, you know, quite early in this process, I think that’s the seventh match I have played, so, you know, hopefully each week feel better and I can keep working on things.
“After Washington [I] took four, five days off the tennis court and was doing a lot of training, a lot of rehab. So hopefully as the year goes on, there will be more for me to get a little bit more consistency like on the practice court and on the tennis court rather than just now it’s been compete, take some time away from the court to work on the physical side, and then build up for a few days before the tournament. So that’s something else I’ll need a bit more consistency on the tennis court.”
The US Open takes place between 27 August – 9 September.
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