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Murray vs Gasquet ATP Cincinnati Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Murray returns to singles action for the first time since January

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 12 Aug 2019
  • Andy Murray vs Richard Gasquet is live from Cincinnati on Monday, 12 August from 2:00pm local time/ 7:00pm BST
  • Murray leads 8-3 on head-to-head
Andy Murray (PA Sport)

Former world No. 1, Andy Murray returns to singles action on Monday as he takes on Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. 

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Murray had announced in January, at a pre-Australian Open press conference, that he planned to retire from the sport at Wimbledon due to persistent pain in his hip, and even suggested that he might be forced to quit tennis after the Australian Open as he did not trust his body to hold up until Wimbledon, but after undergoing hip-resurfacing surgery at the end of January, and having a series of encouraging performances in doubles matches, the Scot has decided that the time is right to make a comeback to singles action.

Murray suffered a plucky five-set defeat to Roberto Bautista-Agut at the Australian Open in what was feared to be his last professional match, but he did leave the door open for a possible return in an emotional post-match speech, telling the Melbourne crowd that he hoped to play the tournament again next year.

The three-time Grand Slam champion underwent surgery at the end of January, but he insisted that the operation was to help him have a better quality of life by taking away the pain, and not to aid a return to tennis. However, he said in March that he was pain-free, hinting at a possible return to the sport, and eventually made a glorious comeback at Queen's in June, partnering Feliciano Lopez to win the title.

Murray has since gone on to play doubles in four more tournaments- Eastbourne, Wimbledon, Washington (where he partnered brother, Jamie) and Montreal, but he had always stressed that he wasn't under pressure to return to singles action, and was going to allow himself all the time he needed to be in his best possible shape. That time has now come, with the 32-year-old set to play his first singles match since January on Monday.

Murray's appearance in Cincinnati also opens the possibility of him playing at the US Open. He is yet to commit to Flushing Meadows, but he has added Zhuhai and Beijing to his schedule as he steps up his recovery from hip surgery. The Scot is a two-time former champion in Cincinnati, winning the title in 2008 and 2011, while he was a beaten finalist in 2016, the year he became No. 1 in the world.

Will it be a winning return to action for the former world No. 1 as he takes on Richard Gasquet on Monday?


Gasquet has also had his injury problems in the last few years, the most recent being a groin injury which required surgery in January and kept him out of action for the first four months of 2019. That has obviously played a significant role in his current lowly ranking of 66th, the first time since May 2010 that he has been outside world's top-60.

Since his return to the tour in May, Gasquet has played 11 tournaments, but only twice has he won back-to-back matches, with his overall win-loss record standing at 11-10. His best result was a semi-final in s-Hertogenbosch in June, where he defeated Aljaz Bedene, Mikhail Kukushkin and Nicolas Jarry before falling to Jordan Thompson, while he reached the third round at last week's Rogers Cup in Montreal, scoring two excellent wins against compatriot, Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori, before losing 7-5 7-5 to Roberto Bautista-Agut.

Gasquet's Montreal performances suggest that the former world No. 7, three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, and 15-time ATP Tour titlist is regaining some of his best form, and he will look to continue that upward trajectory this week in Cincinnati. His record in Cincinnati is very ordinary, as he has made just the one quarter final over the years- in 2015, when incidentally, he was beaten by Andy Murray.

Murray lost to Gasquet in their first two meetings, but the Scot has since taken control of their rivalry, establishing an 8-3 record, having won their last five encounters. They have served up some really good encounters in the past, the most memorable arguably being their Wimbledon meeting of 2008, when Murray fought back from two sets down to score his first victory over the Frenchman.

While the Scot would definitely like to win again in their Cincinnati reunion, victory isn't exactly priority, as he assesses how his body copes under the greater rigours of singles tennis. 

“The performances against top singles players in practises have been good. I’m aware that matches are different, but at some stage you have to take the step to try and play,” said Murray. “The quickest way to get up to speed is by being on the practice and match court with top players”. 
“I’m not expecting to move as well I used to, but I think I can move better than I am now. That will take some time since I only started playing singles a couple of weeks ago. When you’re playing at the highest level against the best players, they hit the ball big and that takes some time to get used to.”

He will be pretty pleased if he comes through without any pains, and if he wins, that would be an added bonus. Gasquet will hope to continue from where he left off in Montreal, and he's got a good shot at snapping his five-match losing streak against the former world No. 1.

Andy Murray vs Richard Gasquet is live from Cincinnati on Monday, 12 August from 2:00pm local time/ 7:00pm BST


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Murray vs Gasquet ATP Cincinnati Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Murray returns to singles action for the first time since January

Andy Murray plays his first match since the Australian Open on Monday as he takes on old rival, Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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