Sports

Murray outfights Edmund on return from injury, Zverev brothers to meet at Washington

Washington, Thursday

Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray (pictured) collected the biggest victory of his injury comeback Wednesday at the ATP and WTA Washington Open while defending champion Alexander Zverev booked a matchup with his older brother.

Murray, sidelined by a right hip injury for 11 months until returning in June, ousted fourth seed Kyle Edmund 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-4 in an all-British matchup to reach the third round of the hardcourt tuneup for the US Open.

“That has been my best win since I started playing again,” Murray said. “It’s a great win for me. It’ll give me more confidence going forward.”

World number three Zverev defeated Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-2, 6-1, to send the 21-year-old German top seed into his first ATP match against 30-year-old Mischa Zverev, the 15th seed who beat American Tim Smyczek 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).

“We played the final of Wimbledon a lot of times in our backyard,” Alex Zverev said. “I was 12. He was 22. I don’t think I ever won. But this is on hardcourt.” On a day when reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens was ousted by Germany’s Andrea Petkovic and Australian Nick Kyrgios withdrew with a sore left hip, Murray stole the show with an impressive victory.

“Hopefully my body will adapt to the matches and get back to what it’s supposed to be doing,” Murray said.

“As the weeks progress, I hope to have more days like today where the pressure and the expectations all grow.”

Former world number one Murray, now ranked 832nd, outlasted his 18th-ranked rival, breaking on a forehand return winner to advance after two hours and 32 minutes.

“Now I have to get my body to play that way consistently and work on getting better with every match,” Murray said.

The 31-year-old Scotsman, who unleashed a primal scream and flurry of fist pumps after winning his opener, wiped away sweat this time before eventually pointing to the heavens, punching the air with his right fist and pumping his fist with satisfaction.

“Much better in terms of the way I played,” Murray said. “Got a lot more points off my forehand. I was able to be more aggressive. I wanted to dictate more points and be inside the baseline, especially on the main points and particularly in the third set.

“I was less nervous. I increased my intensity at the end of the second set. I thought I did that well.”

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

Third-ranked Stephens lost to 91st-rated Andrea Petkovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. Stephens, who won the Miami Open in March, made a run to the French Open semi-finals but stumbled early in her first hardcourt stop before defending her first Grand Slam title.                                        -AFP

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