World no.3 and Citi Open top seed Andy Murray suffered a defeat in his first match on hard court against Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. Murray had been having a good outing in the current season and that included a heroic performance in the world group Davis Cup play-off match against France. Riding on Murray’s fine show, Great Britain reached the Davis Cup semifinals. On Wednesday, however, Gabashvili broke Murray at a crucial juncture, forced a decider and beat the Scot in the third set tiebreak to take the match. At the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, Austrian Dominic Thiem landed himself three matches short of what would be his third consecutive title after Umag and Gstaad. Thiem entered the quarterfinal by defeating fellow Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer in three sets.
Playing for the first time in Washington after 9 years, Britain’s Andy Murray began disastrously to trail 1-4 in the first set. He tried a comeback by breaking the Russian but Gabashvili broke right back on the Scots’s serve and took the first set 6-4. Murray looked composed in the second set and took it easily at 6-3. The 2006 Washington runner-up still had a chance as he prepared to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set. But the Russian broke him and after two service holds, the set went to the tiebreak. Murray led 4-1 in the tiebreak and then never won a single point as Gabashvili played powerfully and clinched the match at 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Murray’s first round exit means he is the second top-seeded player after Ivan Lendl, who was also the top seed in 1993, when he fell in his first round match at Washington.
Earlier in the day, USA’s 6’10” tall John Isner defeated Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos 6-3, 7-6. The 14” short Estrella Burgos couldn’t cope with Isner’s 17 aces and 37 out of 40 first-serve winners. The eighth-seeded Isner didn’t face a single break point and maintained a consistent 130 mph service speed.
In other matches at Citi Open, no.7 seed Spain’s Feliciano Lopez ended Lleyton Hewitt’s last appearance in Washington with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over the Australian. Lopez next faces another Australian Sam Groth, who defeated no.9 seed Canada’s Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4. Frenchman Richard Gasquet defeated no.4 seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 5-7, 6-4, 6-4; Unseeded American Steve Johnson beat 11th-seeded Australian Bernard Tomic 6-7, 6-4, 6-2. Other winners on Wednesday were; 2012 champion Alexandr Dolgopolov, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev.
In the Generali Open at Kitzbuhel, top-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria overcame the first set loss against compatriot Andreas Haider-Maurer to win 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 and extended his winning streak to 9 this season. The Umag and Gstaad title winner was once on the verge of losing against Haider-Maurer as he trailed 1-4 in third set but he composed himself and reeled off the next five games in a row to finish the match. For a place in the semifinals, Thiem will take on Spain’s Albert Montannes, who defeated Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-3.
In other matches at Kitzbuhel, Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic advanced further after his Italian opponent Andreas Seppi withdrew in the second set; no.3 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy defeated Austrian wild card Dennis Novak 6-1, 6-2 and Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Colombia‘s Santiago Giraldo 6-0, 6-2. In an upset at Generali Open, French qualifier Paul Henri-Mathieu shocked no.4 seed Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 6-3, 7-5 to set up a quarterfinal clash with Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, who defeated two-time former champion Robin Haase of the Netherlands 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
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