There are roller coaster races and then there is the clash between Mikael Ymer and Andy Murray on Monday.
After many twists and turns, the Swede finally upset the former world No. 1 with 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-1 to reach the second round of the Citi Open. It was Ymer’s first game on a hard court since February.
“I’m excited,” Ymer said in his court interview. “It was the first day [of the U.S. swing]So obviously there’s still a lot to do, but it’s a really good start to the American swing.”
Both men showed physical problems at various points, but the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus blasted through the third set and triumphed after two hours and 50 minutes.
After saving four set points in the opener and leading 3-1 in the second, Ymer was in complete control. Murray had to stretch his legs several times and regret missed opportunities. At each of his four set points in the first set – one at 6-5 and three more in the tiebreak – he was in a winable position in the point but failed to convert.
“Of course it was disappointing. I thought there was good tennis in the first set. After that we both had some physical problems. The level of tennis was not great,” said Murray. “Of course I had chances in the first set to close that. I had 6-5, then … three in the tieb-reak, and I didn’t get it.”
Suddenly in the middle of the second set, Ymer started skipping and showed signs of his own physical discomfort, giving Murray a burst of energy. The Scot has won five of the last six games of the second set to capture the momentum.
However, after the setbreak, the 46-time touring champion made an unforced forehand error to give up a break and was never able to get back into the match. Ymer looked all refreshed and despite a hiccup in serving 4-0, he capped off his win to clash against 15th seed Aslan Karatsev.
“I think he may have seemed to have a little cramp in the second set, but he recovered well after the break at the end of the game. [second] set. Went off to change clothes and cool off a bit, and he recovered well for the third, while I didn’t really. Yeah, just frustrating,” said Murray. “Actually in Newport I got cramped at the end of one of my games there. Really hot and humid. Usually I like to play in those conditions.
“I’ve struggled with that a bit over the past two tournaments. I’ll have to take a look at that with my team and maybe see why that is, make some changes.”
While Murray was unable to continue, Briton Kyle Edmund was. The 27-year-old took his first TBEN win in 29 months when he defeated Japanese qualifier Yosuke Watanuki 6-4, 7-6(8).
Three surgeries on the left knee had kept Edmund out for 21 months. Now he faces compatriot Daniel Evans for a third-round spot in Washington.
You May Also Like: After 3 Surgeries and 21 Months, Edmund Returns For Singles
“It’s well worth it. During the long periods of time that I was away – not picking up a racket for five months – it was these events that I imagined I would be here for,” said Edmund. “It’s something you miss, feel the buzz, hear the crowd, play under pressure.
“I didn’t find it easy today. He is a very difficult player and very energetic, but I told myself that I had worked too hard not to [give my all]. I persevered and finally got my reward.”
American Denis Kudla, who grew up training in nearby College Park, Maryland, collected compatriot Michael Mmoh, a qualifier, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. JJ Wolf was another American who went further, a 6-2, 6-3 winner against Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel.