Murray beats Edmund to reach third round in Washington, Stephens falls

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray has reached the third round at the ATP and WTA Washington Open. — Action Images pic via Reuters
Former world No. 1 Andy Murray has reached the third round at the ATP and WTA Washington Open. — Action Images pic via Reuters

WASHINGTON, Aug 2 ― Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, battling back after right hip surgery, eliminated fourth seed Kyle Edmund yesterday to reach the third round at the ATP and WTA Washington Open.

Former world number one Murray, now ranked 832nd, outlasted 18th-ranked Edmund 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-4 after two hours and 32 minutes in the all-British matchup.

Murray missed 11 months with a hip injury before returning at two June grasscourt events, only to skip Wimbledon due to the hip.

He outlasted American Mackenzie McDonald in three sets in his opener on the Washington hardcourts before dispatching Edmund, avenging a June loss at Eastbourne.

Murray broke in the final game to take the match, the 31-year-old Scotsman's forehand return winner ending matters.

After a primal scream and fist-pump frenzy in the victory moment after his first match, Murray wiped away sweat this time, waiting until after greeting Edmund and the umpire before pointing to the heavens, punching the air with his right fist and pumping his fist with satisfaction.

Romania's 93rd-ranked Marius Copil, who ousted French 14th seed Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4, will face Murray today for a quarter-final berth.

Reigning US Open champion and world number three Sloane Stephens lost to Germany's 91st-ranked Andrea Petkovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a second-round match.

“I played OK, could have played better,” Stephens said. “She played  a good match. Today just wasn't my day. I didn't serve great. She just played better.

Stephens, who won the Miami Open in March, made a run to the French Open semi-finals but stumbled early in her first hardcourt tuneup event for the US Open.

“Hopefully some things will connect in the next few weeks coming into the US Open,” Stephens said.

Petkovic, down a set and a break, rallied and won the final four games to reach the quarter-finals, her first victory over a top-10 foe beating then-number five Garbine Muguruza at Doha in 2016.

“It's definitely a confidence boost,” Petkovic said. “I started very slow. My footwork was off. I didn't serve well. I was making a lot of unforced errors. I tried to hang in there and become more solid and I found a much better rhythm on my serve.”

Injured Kyrgios 'gutted'

Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka, ranked 17th, is the only top-45 player remaining in the women's draw.

Australia's 17th-ranked Nick Kyrgios withdrew because of a hip injury. He retired last week from an Atlanta Open quarter-final with the injury and his fitness is in doubt for the start of the US Open on August 27.

“Absolutely gutted to have to withdraw from @CitiOpen,” Kyrgios tweeted. “I've done all I can to get my hip ready but ran out of time. I want to thank Keely (O'Brien, tournament director) & her team for the support and apologise to the fans. I'll be back!”

Defending champion and world number three Alexander Zverev of Germany was set to finish a rain-halted match against Tunisia's Malek Jaziri after taking the first set Tuesday 6-2.

A victory would lift the top seed into his first ATP matchup against his brother Mischa, the 15th seed who advanced 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) over American Tim Smyczek. ― AFP