Andy Murray beats Stan Wawrinka in Cincinnati

Andy Murray beats Stan Wawrinka in Cincinnati

Andy Murray set up a meeting with fellow Briton Cameron Norrie with a gutsy win over fellow veteran Stan Wawrinka in the Cincinnati Open.

Former world number one Murray, 35, won 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 7-5 in the first-round match against his 37-year-old rival.

The victory keeps alive world number 47 Murray’s hopes of being seeded at the US Open, which starts on 29 August.

Now the Scot will play Norrie after the British number one won 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 against Denmark’s Holger Rune.

Murray and Wawrinka were the two players who most regularly challenged the dominance of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the top of the men’s game in the 2010s, leading to three Grand Slam triumphs apiece and long stretches inside the world’s top five.

But both have suffered with a catalogue of injuries in recent seasons, each fighting back from them in their twilight years to show their love for the sport has not diminished.

So it was fitting their fight and determination was evident again in an enthralling battle, lasting almost three hours and seeing both struggle physically, in Cincinnati.

Three break points were not taken by Wawrinka in the opening set and that hold proved crucial as Murray played superbly in the tie-break to lead.

Wawrinka only returned to the tour in April after 13 months out with a foot injury and needed treatment on the same leg – taking a medical time-out for a rub down of his left calf – as he led 2-1 in the second set.

But he showed no significant damage and eventually broke for 5-3 to serve for the set.

Wawrinka’s focus dropped as Murray – who had not earned any break points until then – put the set back on serve without having to apply too much pressure.

The set became scrappy and Murray was broken for the second time at 6-5 as Wawrinka forced a decider.

Murray was broken in the second game and struggled with cramp, but managed to break straight back and then received treatment himself at the changeover.

With both men continuing to need attention from the physios, the set continued on serve until Murray broke for 5-4 with a rasping return which left him serving for the match.

A tense game saw Murray unable to take any of three match points – including after being docked a first serve on the third for a second time violation – before taking the fourth with a huge serve down the middle which Wawrinka could not return.

British number one Norrie earned the first main-draw victory of his career at Cincinnati with a patient win over talented teenager Rune.

Norrie, ranked 11th in the world, lost serve for 4-2 in the opening set but instantly broke back to take the momentum away from his 19-year-old opponent.

Neither could earn another break point and Norrie clinched the tie-break when Rune ended a tense rally by hitting long.

Frustration spilled over for the Dane as he hammered two balls out of the stadium, also clubbing the net with his racquet, before going for a toilet break to calm down.

The moment of reflection helped as Rune broke in the first game of the second set and, after the pair exchanged breaks in consecutive games for 4-4 and 5-4, he ensured the match would be settled by a decider.

Again there were consecutive breaks of serve midway through the set before Norrie secured victory when Rune produced a double fault on the second match point. (Courtesy BBC)

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