Andy Murray and Vance Williams lost in Washington’s openers

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray of Great Britain crashed out of the opening round of the ATP and WTA Washington Open to Sweden’s Mikael Ymer on Monday.

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The 35-year-old Scotsman fell to 115th-ranked Ymer 7-6 (10/8), 4-6, 6-1 after two hours and 50 minutes in the US Open tune-up tournament.

“I’m excited,” said Ymer, who saved four set points in the first set. “There’s still a lot to do, but it’s a great start to American swing.”

World No. 50 Murray, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion, is looking to regain the seeding at the US Open, which he won a decade ago.

“It’s still possible,” Murray said. “I’ll just need to have a good run in Canada or Cincinnati. It’s very straightforward if I make the quarter-finals or the semi-finals, which at the moment – after a loss like that – doesn’t seem realistic.

“I feel like if I play really well, I can do it. But I definitely have to play better than I did today.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, playing her first singles match in nearly a year, also crashed out in the opening round, losing 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino.

“It was nice to have the crowd behind me,” Williams said. “Definitely a great experience. It’s my first match so I didn’t think I played well many times.

“Just trying to shake off some rust. That’s to be expected. All I can do is play one more tournament and play better.

Williams had not played a WTA singles match since losing to Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan 49 weeks ago in Chicago.

Ymer, who lost the only ATP final of his career in Winston-Salem last August, will next face 15th seed Aslan Karatsev.

Ymer hit 75 percent of his first-serve points, 49 of 65, and 37 winners to outscore Murray, who made just 25 with 35 unforced errors, five more than Ymer.

Murray had a set point in the 12th game of the first set but sent a backhand wide and held off Ymer in the tiebreaker.

Murray had three more set points in the tiebreak but Ymer hit two forehand winners and a forehand volley to tie the game at 7-7, prompting Murray to toss his racket in frustration. The 23-year-old Yamer won the backhand volley to take the set.

“There were chances to close it out in the first set,” Murray said. “Don’t get it. Yeah, disappointing.”

While Murray clawed back to force a third set, Ymer raced to a 4-0 lead, they traded breaks on double faults and Ymer closed out the match on a backhand crosscourt winner.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep defeated Spanish qualifier Christina Buxa 6-3, 7-5 in the Wimbledon semifinals.

“The first round is always difficult when you change levels,” said Halep, the third seed. “I know it will take time to make the game stronger.”

American top seed Jessica Pegola defeated American wild card Haley Baptiste 6-2, 6-2.

Pegula won the latest WTA Washington event in 2019 after missing two years due to Covid-19.

“It definitely feels weird,” Pegula said. “It’s great to be back.”

Edmond wins ATP comeback

Britain’s Kyle Edmond made a triumphant return to ATP singles after three left knee surgeries and a 20-month layoff by defeating Japanese qualifier Yusuke Watanuki 6-4, 7-6 (10/8).

Edmund, who next faces British 16th seed Daniel Evans, played his first tour-level singles match in Vienna since October 2020, a month before his first operation.

“I didn’t find it easy today,” Edmond said. “I hung in there and finally got my reward.”

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