Western and Southern Open 2019: Andy Murray, Marin Cilic Upset, Venus Advances

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2019

MASON, OHIO - AUGUST 12: Andy Murray of Great Britain returns a shot to Richard Gasquet of France during Day 3 of the Western and Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 12, 2019 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The first round of the Western and Southern Open got underway Monday, and there were already plenty of surprises.

Big names like Andy Murray and Marin Cilic saw their tournaments come to an end with losses in the round of 64, while top stars in the women's draw faced difficult challenges in their first matches.

With the U.S. Open right around the corner, the stakes remain high for all players trying to shore up their game on the hard court.

Here is a breakdown of the latest action from Cincinnati.


Monday Results

Men's Draw

Radu Albot def. No. 14 Marin Cilic; 6-4, 7-6 (6)

Richard Gasquet def. Andy Murray; 6-4, 6-4

Guido Pella def. Casper Ruud; 7-5, 7-6 (4)

Sam Querrey def. Pierre-Hugues Herbert; 7-6 (2), 7-6 (1)

Miomir Kecmanovic def. Felix Auger-Aliassime; 6-3, 6-3

Juan Ignacio Londero def. Matteo Berrettini; 7-6 (3), 6-3

Adrian Mannarino def. Cristian Garin; 6-4, 6-1

Yoshihito Nishioka def. Jordan Thompson; 7-5, 5-7, 6-4

Lucas Pouille def. Denis Kudla; 6-3, 7-6 (6)

Jan-Lennard Struff def. Ivo Karlovic; 7-5, 7-6 (4)

Pablo Carreno Busta def. Gilles Simon; 7-5, 7-6 (4)

Nick Kyrgios def. Lorenzo Sonego; 7-5, 6-4

No. 12 Borna Coric leads Reilly Opelka; 6-4, 3-6, 4-3 (delayed until Tuesday)


Women's Draw

No. 9 Aryna Sabalenka def. Petra Martic; 6-1, 6-4

Rebecca Peterson def. No. 14 Johanna Konta; 6-3, 3-6, 7-5

Svetlana Kuznetsova def. No. 11 Anastasija Sevastova; 7-6(3), 6(4)-7, 6-4

Venus Williams def. Lauren Davis; 7-5, 6-2

Iga Swiatek def. Caroline Garcia; 7-6 (1), 6-1

Maria Sakkari def. Camila Giorgi; 6-3, 6-0

Veronika Kudermetova def. Bernarda Pera; 6-2, 6-3

Yulia Putintseva def. Jelena Ostapenko; 6-2, 6 (3)-7, 6-3

Elise Mertens def. Catherine McNally; 7-5, 6-0

Aliaksandra Sasnovich def. Astra Sharma; 6-1, 4-6, 6-1

Maria Sharapova def. Alison Riske; 6-3, 7-6 (4)

Dayana Yastremska def. Caroline Wozniacki; 6-4, 6-4

Full results available at the tournament's official website.


Top Matches

Richard Gasquet def. Andy Murray

Andy Murray returned to the court for a singles match Monday for the first time in more than six months, but it was an unsuccessful return.

Richard Gasquet earned a straight-sets victory over the British star, who hasn't competed in a single match since the Australian Open while dealing with multiple hip injuries. He had appeared in a few doubles matches in this span but hadn't been able to play on his own.

This return could also be short-lived, as he said after the match he won't be playing singles at the U.S. Open, per Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times.

Murray wasn't at his best in Cincinnati, struggling with his accuracy while getting only 54 percent of his first serves in play. Gasquet took advantage by winning 15 of 26 returns on second serves.

Still, the veteran did have some good moments where he showcased his range:

ATP Tour @ATP_Tour

@andy_murray @TennisTV @CincyTennis Vintage, Sir Andy 😍 @andy_murray | @CincyTennis https://t.co/7fWCypumXo

The 32-year-old might need more time to recover, but he isn't far from being a competitive player once again in 2020.


Radu Albot def. Marin Cilic

It was a day of missed opportunity for Marin Cilic, who was bounced in the first round after a loss to Radu Albot.

The No. 14 seed lost in straight sets, but he had a lot of chances to win the second set:

José Morgado @josemorgado

Albot d. 2016 champion Cilic 6-4, 7-6(6) to reach the 2nd round in Cincinnati. Marin had 6 (!) SPs in the 2nd set.

He also had six break opportunities against Albot but couldn't convert any of them, allowing the underdog to stay in front and eventually seal the win in the tiebreaker.

It added up to arguably the biggest win of the year for Albot, who continues to have one of the best runs of his career. The 29-year-old entered the month with the highest ranking of his career at 39, and he could continue to rise with more big wins over top competitors.

The bottom half of the bracket is wide-open after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the event, and Albot could make a deep run if he continues to play well.

As for Cilic, he is now just 15-13 on the season and has only reached the quarterfinals of two tournaments.


Maria Sharapova def. Alison Riske

Maria Sharapova entered this event on a three-match losing streak and hasn't won more than one match in a tournament since January.

She looked much better in the first round at Cincinnati, forcing Alison Riske to move all around the court in the first set:


First set goes to @MariaSharapova, 6-3 #CincyTennis https://t.co/nsoaY0Sjy5

Riske appeared to take control in the second set going up 4-1, but Sharapova stormed back by winning five of the next six games to get back in charge. Although she couldn't close things out with her serve, she earned the win in the second-set tiebreak.

She showed an impressive skill set during the match, especially with her winners:


Backhand 💪 from @MariaSharapova #CincyTennis https://t.co/C6Z0sQoM3j

Though things get much tougher in the next round with a matchup against top-seeded Ashleigh Barty, Sharapova should remain a threat in this tournament and the U.S. Open.


Tuesday Schedule

Center Court

ATP: Grigor Dimitrov vs. Stan Wawrinka; 11 a.m. ET

WTA: Kiki Bertens vs. Venus Williams; Not before 1 p.m. ET

ATP: Novak Djokovic vs. Sam Querrey

ATP: Roger Federer vs. Juan Ignacio Londero; Not before 7 p.m. ET

WTA: Serena Williams vs. Zarina Diyas; Not before 8:30 p.m. ET



WTA: Victoria Azarenka vs. Belinda Bencic; 11 a.m. ET

ATP: Gael Monfils vs. Frances Tiafoe

WTA: Madison Keys vs. Garbine Muguruza

WTA: Maria Sakkari vs. Petra Kvitova; 7 p.m. ET

ATP: John Isner vs. Pablo Carreno Busta; Not before 8:30 p.m. ET

Full schedule available at the tournament's official website.