Andy Murray made the most of his wildcard entry to the Western and Southern Open with a 6-4, 6-4 first-round triumph over Richard Gasquet.
The rain-delayed ATP 1000 encounter marked a comeback for Murray after retiring from singles at the Tokyo Olympics with thigh strain, despite playing doubles alongside Joe Salisbury.
The Scotsman sent 14 aces, including 10 in the first set alone, against Gasquet’s three as the pair battled in Cincinnati, where Murray finished with 38 winners for the game. The 34-year-old won the tournament in 2008 and 2011.
“I was able to step in and control a lot of points,” Murray told the ATP website. “When I play like this, I create opportunities and I can put a lot of pressure on my opponent. “
He will then face ninth-seeded winner Hubert Hurkacz and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
At his first press conference since the Olympics, Murray admitted on Sunday that he would not set any long-term goals before the US Open.
“I think I have to set short term goals for myself, that’s what is really important at the moment as it was very difficult to plan medium and long term goals due to various issues that I encountered this year, ”he said.
Murray traveled to Wimbledon after two hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019, when it was unclear whether the Briton would be able to play tennis again.
Wimbledon was Murray’s first grand slam this year, having contracted Covid before the Australian Open and missing Roland Garros, and he reached the third round before losing to Denis Shapovalov in straight sets.