Andy Murray withstands Basilashvili fightback on winning Wimbledon return

Jonathan Davies in Wimbledon 28 Jun 2021
Murray was making his first Wimbledon singles appearance since the 2017 quarter-finals (Simon Bruty/AELTC Pool/PA Wire/PA Images)

Andy Murray made a winning return to Wimbledon as he withstood Nikoloz Basilashvili’s fightback to prevail 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3 in the opening round on Monday.

Following a lengthy battle with injuries, the two-time champion was making his first appearance in the men’s singles draw at SW19 since defeat by Sam Querrey in the 2017 quarter-finals.

And the former world number one, who hit 17 aces on Centre Court, looked well on course for a straight-sets victory over Basilashvili at 5-0 to the good in the third.

However, the 24th seed demonstrated tremendous resilience and determination as he reeled off seven successive games to claw his way back into the contest.

The momentum appeared to be on the Georgian’s side with Murray aiming to avoid a first-ever defeat at the opening hurdle here.

But the 34-year-old – playing only his third match on grass in two years – regained the initiative and eventually got himself over the line.

Awaiting Murray in the second round is either Oscar Otte or Arthur Rinderknech, who were locked at 9-9 in a gripping deciding set before poor light caused play to be suspended on the outside courts.

Earlier in the day, reigning champion Novak Djokovic survived a scare against British debutant Jack Draper before advancing 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2.

Five-time winner Djokovic is aiming to become only the fourth player to win three successful Wimbledon titles in the modern era, but came unstuck in the first set of his latest defence.

Roared on by the home crowd, teenager Draper embraced the unusual surroundings with an early break on the way to taking the opener.

However, Djokovic responded immediately 6-1 to wrestle back control, before dominating the final two sets – hitting 25 aces along the way – to complete the job.

The world number one will now face Kevin Anderson in a repeat of the 2018 final; the South African also recovering from losing the first set in his 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-6 win over Tomas Barrios.

Fifth seed Andrey Rublev overcame Federico Delbonis in four sets, as did eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut against Australia’s John Millman.

But French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas could not join them in the second round; suffering a straight-sets defeat against an inspired Frances Tiafoe, who claimed his first career win over a top-five player.

Jannik Sinner was another notable casualty on day one; the 19th seed going down 7-5 3-6 5-7 3-6 against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Over in the women’s draw, second seed Aryna Sabalenka hit 48 winners in her 6-1 6-4 victory over Monica Niculescu, while fourth seed Sofia Kenin was a straight-sets winner against Xinyu Wang.

Iga Swiatek and Garbine Muguruza also advanced in straight sets against Su-Wei Hsieh and Fiona Ferro respectively, but two-time champion Petra Kvitova was ousted 3-6 4-6 by Sloane Stephens.

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Wimbledon 2021 Results

Monday June 28

First Round

CENTRE COURT (1.30pm)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 Jack Draper (GBR)
Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-3, 6-4 Petra Kvitova (CZE) [10]
Andy Murray (GBR) 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) [24]

NO.1 COURT (1pm)
Monica Niculescu (ROU) 1-6, 4-6 Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) [2]
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [3] 4-6, 4-6, 3-6 Frances Tiafoe (USA)
Iga Swiatek (POL) [7] 6-4, 6-4 Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE)

NO.2 COURT (11am)
Fiona Ferro (FRA) 0-6, 1-6 Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [11]
Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-4, 1-6, 1-6, 2-6 Andrey Rublev (RUS) [5]
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) [9] 6-3, 6-4 Benoit Paire (FRA) – play suspended

NO.3 COURT (11am)
Katie Swan (GBR) 3-6, 4-6 Madison Keys (USA) [23]
Xinyu Wang (CHN) 4-6, 2-6 Sofia Kenin (USA) [4]
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 3-6, 4-6, 0-6 Liam Broady (GBR)

COURT 12 (11am)
John Milman (AUS) 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) [8]
Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-4, 2-6, 6-6 Gael Mongils (FRA) [13] – play suspended

COURT 18 (11am)
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 Jannik Sinner (ITA) [19]
Kristie Ahn (USA) 2-6, 7-6, 8-6 Heather Watson (GBR)
Fabio Fognini (ITA) [26] 7-6, 6-2 Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) – play suspended

COURT 4 (11am)
Marton Barrios Vera (CHI) 7-6, 4-6, 4-6, 6-7 Kevin Anderson (RSA)
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 7-6, 3-4 Petra Martic (CRO) [26] – play suspended

COURT 5 (11am)
Jodie Burrage (GBR) 2-6, 1-6 Lauren Davis (USA)
Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-7 Karen Khachanov (RUS [25]

COURT 6 (11am)
Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 Danielle Collins (USA)
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 3-6, 3-6, 3-6 Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-7 Daniel Masur (GER) – play suspended

COURT 7 (11am)
Denis Kudla (USA) 5-7, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) [30]
Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 7-5, 2-2 Vera Zvonareva (RUS) – play suspended

COURT 8 (11am)
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) [32] 6-1, 6-3 Laura Siegemund (GER)
Oscar Otte (GER) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 9-9 Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) – play suspended

COURT 9 (11am)
Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) 1-6, 6-0, 6-4 Anna Kalinskaya (RUS)
Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 Stefano Travaglia (ITA)

COURT 10 (11am)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 Joao Sousa (POR)
Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-3, 6-4 Ricardas Berankis (LTU) – play suspended

COURT 11 (11am)
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-4, 7-5 Katie Volynets (USA)

COURT 14 (11am)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 3-6, 3-6 Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED)
Reilly Opelka (USA) [27] 4-6, 6-7, 2-6 Dominik Koeper (GER)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 4-6, 0-6 Elena Rybakina (KAZ) [18]

COURT 15 (11am)
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) [29] 6-3, 1-6, 9-11 Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
Misaki Doi (JPN) 2-6, 6-3, 5-4 Claire Liu (USA) – play suspended

COURT 16 (11am)
Jiri Vesley (CZE) 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 Yannick Hanfmann (GER)
Madison Brengle (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 Christina McHale (USA) – play suspended

COURT 17 (11am)
Daniella Lao (USA) 7-6, 3-6, 4-6 Katie Boulter (GBR)
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 Jay Clarke (GBR) – play suspended