Andy Murray’s hopes of a third-round meeting with Roger Federer were dashed after 16th seed Lucas Pouille battled to a three-sets victory in the first round at the Western & Southern Open.
Playing in his fourth tournament of the year, and second hard-court event in preparation for the US Open later this month, Murray was edged out 6-1 1-6 6-4 in Cincinnati.
Anything you can do I can do better.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 13, 2018
Pouille now facesLeonardo Mayerin the second round, while Roger Federer – set to play his first tournament since Wimbledon – is up against Peter Gojowczyk after receiving a bye in the opening round.
Meanwhile, Murray will turn his attentions to Flushing Meadows, with the Grand Slam getting under way on August 27. It is yet to be confirmed whether the 31-year-old will feature at next week’s Winston-Salem Open.
Pouille outclassed a rusty-looking Murray in the opening set, breaking three times as the Briton sent down six double faults, recorded a first-serve percentage of 46, and won two out of 14 points on his second serve.
However, Murray – a wildcard in Cincinnati – made a marked improvement in the second set, handing Pouille a taste of his own medicine when breaking three times to force a decider.
The momentum swung once more as Pouille broke Murray after six deuces in a marathon first game of the third set, before saving break point in the fourth game to maintain his advantage.
Murray then saved match point on serve in the ninth game before Pouille wrapped up the win after one hour and 55 minutes on court.
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