British tennis maestro Andy Murray suffered a major blow as he slumped to a straight sets defeat at the hands of Richard Gasquet of France in his men's singles return at the ongoing Cincinnati Open on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old, who received a wildcard entry into the tournament, mostly opted for safe shots with plenty of topspin but his opponent Gasquet went for vast array of spin and angles from both wings to eventually seal a comfortable 6-4, 6-4 win in the opening round of the Western and Southern Opem that lasted one hour and 36 minutes.
With the win, Gasquet has sealed only his fourth victory in the 12-match ATP Head-to-Head series against Murray.
Heaping praise over his French opponent, Murray admitted that Gasquet used all the angles on the court well and made him struggled to hit the ball.
“[Richard] uses all of the angles on the court. He's one of the best at doing that. So I was having to move quite a lot laterally, and I didn't move forward particularly well. Like when he drop shotted, there was a few times I didn't even run to the ball, didn't react to it, and that's nothing to do with my hip. That's just me not running for a ball, which I did do better at the end of the match,"the Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP) quoted the former world number one as saying.
Prior to this clash, Murray has not played in men's singles event since his opening round exit from the Australian Open in January this year, following which he underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London.
In June, Murray made a successful comeback to doubles event by winning the Queen`s Club Championships with his Spaniard partner Feliciano Lopez. Subsequently, he also played mixed doubles with American tennis star Serena Williams and men`s doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in Wimbledon.
Gasquet, on the other hand, has also made a return from the groin surgery. The Frenchman underwent the surgery in January and was forced to miss the initial four months of the year.
Gasquet will now lock horns with Austria's Dominic Thiem, who is bidding to clinch his second ATP Masters 1000 title of the year after clinching victory at the BNP Paribas Open in March.