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Andy Murray upbeat despite Winston-Salem defeat to Sandgren: 'I think there was some good stuff in there'

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 20 Aug 2019
  • Andy Murray took plenty of positives from his Winston-Salem opener despite suffering a 7-6 7-5 defeat to Tennys Sandgren
  • Murray was playing his second singles match since his return from hip surgery
Andy Murray (PA Sport)

Former world No. 1, Andy Murray was beaten by American, Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open on Monday night, but the three-time major champion took plenty of positives from his performance, as he continues his comeback to the sport following hip surgery.

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Playing his second singles match in as many weeks, Murray fell 7-6 7-5 to Sandgren in the Winston-Salem opener. The Scot had lost to Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati last week in his first singles match since undergoing hip surgery in January. He looked a lot more assured and fluent in Winston-Salem, and showed some of the characteristic fighting qualities that have been a feature of his career. 

Murray pushed hard for the break at the start of the match, holding a break point in a 14-minute opening game, but he couldn’t force the breakthrough. The rest of the set progressed without any more break points, and after battling back from 6-4 to bring up a set point at 8-7, Murray lost the last three points to concede the opening set. The Scot lost his way at the start of the second set, dropping serve twice to sink into a 3-0 deficit, but he did brilliantly to recover both breaks to even the set. However, having worked so hard to get back into the match, he faltered towards the finish line, losing the next two games to succumb to defeat after two hours and 11 minutes.

The Scot served at 50%, winning 72% of points on his first serve, and 52% on his second.

"I think there was some good stuff in there," Murray said after the match.  
"I think my ball striking was better than last week. I hit quite a few more winners, came to the net quite a lot. Obviously I didn't win but I do feel I was a bit more in control of what was happening out there". 
"Physically I felt OK in the rallies, but I did notice in the second set that my first serve wasn't as good, and I think maybe my legs were a little bit heavy at the end there."

Murray had feared for his career earlier in the year, announcing at a tearful pre-Australian Open press conference that he would retire at Wimbledon due to persistent pain in his hip. He also said the Australian Open could be his final tournament as he did not trust his body to hold up until Wimbledon.

The two-time Wimbledon champion went on to lose to Roberto Bautista-Agut in the first round in Melbourne, after which he appeared to soften his stance on a possible retirement, telling the crowd in that he hoped to return next year.

Murray underwent hip resurfacing surgery at the end of January, insisting that the main purpose of the operation was to enable him have a better quality of life, rather than to facilitate a return to tennis. 

However, the 32-year-old announced in March that he was pain-free, hinting at a possible return to competition. He eventually made his comeback at Queen’s in June, initially playing doubles, before accelerating his return with a shift to singles in Cincinnati, and now Winston-Salem.

The Scot had initially planned to play doubles during the US Open, but he has since abandoned that idea, and could well be playing a Challenger event during the Flushing Meadows fortnight with his focus now firmly on singles action.

"I think for my body it would be a good thing because I do feel at that level I will be winning matches each week," Murray added. 
"And I think it would be good for my game as well because I'm not quite seeing the points as I used to. And if I can get more matches, I'll start to work that out a little bit quicker, and see it faster. 
"I would probably rather stay playing outdoors because the next couple of tour events I'm playing are outdoors in Asia, but I haven't given it tonnes of thought."

Murray is scheduled to play ATP events in Zhuhai Beijing in the Asian swing following the US Open.

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Andy Murray upbeat despite Winston-Salem defeat to Sandgren: "I think there was some good stuff in there"

Andy Murray took plenty of positives from his Winston-Salem opener despite suffering a 7-6 7-5 defeat to Tennys Sandgren.

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