Several of the top names in tennis were action on Monday at the Cincinnati Masters. And the results were mixed.
Two-time tournament champion Andy Murray made his 2018 Masters debut but struggled in a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 loss to Lucas Pouille. The French who once beat Rafael Nadal at the US Open, fell last week to teen Felix Auger-Alissiame. But this afternoon, opened and finished strong in his first career win over the Scot.
“I’m very happy, especially with the way I fought until the end,” Pouille said. “I tried to do my best in the third set and then until the end I played very aggressive and I’m very pleased with that.”
Murray, who had played so well in the second, opened the third by double-faulting a quick break away. And Pouille hung on.
“Today’s start of the match was not good at all,” Murray said. “It was a pretty bad first set and then after that, you know, got a little bit better. I physically felt okay. You know, it’s quick conditions here. I feel like he was a little bit sharper than me out there. I maybe wasn’t reacting as quickly to some shots I would have liked.
“I only lost four more points in the match than him. It was tight. He’s a Top 20 player,” he added. “If I can improve by 10, 15 percent, you turn a lot of those matches around.”
Miami champion and 2017 semifinalist John Isner fell in a minor upset to countryman Sam Querrey in a final set breaker 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5). Querrey failed to serve it out at 5-4 in the third, but hung in the breaker to snap a string of 8 straight losses in final set breakers.
Isner has now lost three of his last four matches.
Stan Wawrinka picked up a good win beating Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Next for Stan is Kei Nishikori who got past Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-3.
In a marquee NextGen clash, Denis Shapovalov edged Frances Tiafoe 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5.
And in the evening, Novak Djokovic needed NINE match points to finally put away Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6(4). Djokovic, who needs a Cincinnati title to complete the set of nine Masters, was up a break in the second before going down a break in the second.
On Tuesday, 7-time champion Roger Federer makes his summer hard court debut against German Peter Gojowczyk.
“I’ve been practicing on hard courts, so it’s not like I haven’t played on hard courts for forever,” said Federer who hasn’t played on hard since Miami. “I feel I am really ready to go. Anxious actually. Cincy has been a great tournament for me in the past. It’s great to be back and hopefully I can play a good tournament.”
2017 finalist Nick Kyrgios and his bad hip will take on Denis Kudla. Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung challenges the reeling Jack Sock. Fellow Melbourne semifinalist Kyle Edmund faces Shapovalov. And Greek phenom Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on David Goffin.
TUESDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
CENTER Starts At 11:00 AM
Hyeon Chung vs Jack Sock
Not Before 1:00 PM
9 Karolina Pliskova vs Agnieszka Radwanska
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs 11 David Goffin
Not Before 7:00 PM
Peter Gojowczyk vs 2 Roger Federer
Not Before 8:30 Pm
8 Petra Kvitova vs Serena Williams
GRANDSTAND Starts At 11:00 AM
Naomi Osaka vs Maria Sakkari
15 Nick Kyrgios vs (Q) Denis Kudla
Kiki Bertens vs CoCo Vandeweghe
Not Before 7:00 PM
5 Elina Svitolina vs (WC) Svetlana Kuznetsova
Not Before 8:30 Pm
Denis Shapovalov vs 14 Kyle Edmund
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