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Murray loses to Gasquet in Cincinnati singles return and won't play singles at the US Open

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 12 Aug 2019
  • Andy Murray loses on comeback to singles 
  • Murray was defeated 4-6, 4-6 by Richard Gasquet at the Cincinnati Masters
  • Murray won't play US Open singles
Andy Murray, playing his first singles match in eight months, lost to Richard Gasquet in straight sets at the Cincinnati Masters (PA Sports)

Andy Murray won't play singles at the US Open following defeat on his comeback at the Cincinnati Masters.

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Playing his first singles match since undergoing radical hip surgery, Andy Murray lost 4-6, 4-6 to Richard Gasquet at the Cincinnati Masters on Monday.

The former world no. 1 also confirmed that he won't be playing singles at the upcoming US Open, ending months of speculation.

Speaking to the press after losing to Gasquet in the two-time Wimbledon champion's first match since the Australian Open in January, Murray said that he would play doubles and mixed doubles at the US Open but won't be competing in the singles draw when the Grand Slam begins on Monday 26 August.

Richard Gasquet (PA Sports)
'I'm not going to play the US Open singles. You know, we were hoping to maybe hold a wildcard until a little bit closer to the time, to see how I might feel and get some matches hopefully and a bit of practice,' Murray said. 

'But they were announcing the wildcards today and didn't want to wait, so the decision I made with my team was [that] I didn't want to take a wildcard today because I didn't know how I was going to feel after a match. I wanted ... to maybe get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that. But I'll maybe play Winston-Salem potentially.'

It's a decision that will have been made ahead of Murray's first foray into singles with his surgically-repaired hip, after having tested the waters playing doubles at five events over the past two months.

Murray may have been defeated in straight sets by a man he was on a five-match winning streak, but from the moment he took the court in Cincinnati, filming himself on his phone as he did so, it was clear that this was about more than the result. Given that the last time he took the court in singles he watched a video paying tribute to his career ahead of his presumed retirement, it could be considered a triumph that he entered the court at all, although Murray clearly did not feel that way about it - and took the positives from his dissatisfaction, as well. 

''I'm obviously happy to be back playing. I thought it maybe would have changed my perspective completely on things but I'm still sitting here disappointed. Which I think is probably a good thing if I want to get back to playing at a high level,' Murray said. 

'If I was just happy to be back on the court and not really worried about the outcome then I'd be a bit concerned about that, but I feel a bit disappointed. I feel I can do better and there's lots of things I can work on, so I'll go away and do that and hopefully be better next time.'

There is certainly plenty of room for improvement. Murray opened the match by double-faulting twice in his opening service game and was broken with a backhand wide. Gasquet, who is on his own journey back from surgery in January but quite a lot further along it than Murray, consolidated to love to lead 2-0 and had a point to lead 3-0 when Murray missed a pair of forehands in his next service game, but Murray staved off the break point and held for 1-2 with a short backhand winner before breaking Gasquet to level at 2-2 and saving two break points to win his third game in a row and lead 3-2.

Murray in action (PA Sports)
It was the last time he would lead in the scoreline, however, as Gasquet started to play more aggressively and spread the court to test Murray's movement. The former world no. 7 struck a clean forehand winner to break for 4-3 and consolidated to love for 5-3 with a deft drop shot winner, eventually closing out the set with another drop shot that had Murray almost crashing into the umpire's chair. Murray had not hit a single groundstroke winner in the opening set.

The second saw Murray get off to a similarly calamitous start as he double faulted to 0-40 before being broken to love and although he started to play a lot better after that, he was never able to retrieve that opening break. He did stretch Gasquet to multiple deuces in a seven-minute game at 3-2, but once again the drop shot proved key for Gasquet as he got out of the game, and went on to close the match out on his serve after 98 minutes.

'I don't really know what I was expecting, to be honest. I think I did OK. I think there was a lot of things I would have liked to have done better in the match, but you also have to be somewhat realistic, as well, in terms of what you can expect, in terms of how you actually play and hit the ball,' Murray said afterwards. 

'I think physically, you know, my legs were a little bit heavy at the end of the match in comparison to what they normally would be if you play a bunch. Richard, you know, he uses all of the angles on the court, he's one of the best at doing that, so I was having to move quite a lot laterally and I didn't move forwards particularly well. 

'[...] I think it got better as the match went on, at the beginning of the match I started a bit slowly. He didn't play particularly well at the beginning either. But I think as the match went on, I feel like I played a little bit better, started to serve better as it went on. I think I reacted to more balls as the match went on, I created a few more chances in the second set than I did in the first. So there was a few good things, but there's also lots of things I need to work on, not just physically but in my game as well. And that's what I always knew I was going to get out of this week, was to get a lot of information and learn a lot from the match. I need to get on the practice court and work on some things and physically I can get better.'

Gasquet will face fourth seed Dominic Thiem in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters as he looks for his second victory in as many weeks over a top-10 opponent.

Murray, meanwhile, will consult with his team about whether or not to play the Winston-Salem Open.

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Murray loses to Gasquet in Cincinnati singles return and won't play singles at the US Open

Andy Murray's first singles match since hip resurfacing surgery in January ended in a 4-6, 4-6 defeat to Richard Gasquet, while the former world no. 1 also confirmed he won't play singles at the upcoming US Open

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