The world elite of the little yellow ball made its return to competition on Saturday in unprecedented conditions dictated by the coronavirus. Relocated in the bubble of Flushing Meadows in New York, the Cincinnati tournament is the first ATP tournament organized since the suspension of the season in March, due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the WTA circuit having for its part resumed early August in Palermo. This competition also serves as a full-scale test before the US Open, which begins next week, within the same health bubble, in the absence of the public.
This did not prevent the facetious Andy Murray from pretending to greet the supporters after his victory, he who had made his comeback to competition for nine months. "There isn't really a good atmosphere, so it's necessarily a bit tricky," said the Briton, who had to fight against the American Frances Tiafoe, beaten in three sets (7-6, 8 / 6, 3-6, 6-1). Winner of the Cincinnati tournament in 2008 and 2011, Murray made his comeback after two hip surgeries in January 2018, then in January 2019, before a bruise on his pelvic bone prevented him from taking part in the start of the season 2020. "That there was no noise during the whole match, it was really strange", also commented the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who will remain as the one who won the first match counting for the ATP circuit since March (6-4, 6-1 against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili).
“I know it's a bit cliché, but you have to create your own atmosphere a bit on the pitch. It is not the same"Andy Murray
“I find that (the fans) create energy,” said Victoria Azarenka, after beating Donna Vekic (6-2, 6-3). “I love this energy that I feel we can feed on. Sometimes you have the whole stadium against you and you feed on it too, ”added the Belarusian. “I know it's a bit cliché, but you have to create your own atmosphere a bit on the pitch. It's not the same, ”admitted Murray. In the other meetings of the day, the young American prodigy Cori Gauff, 16, lost (6-1, 6-3) to the Greek Maria Sakkari, while the experienced American Venus Williams is also eliminated, despite a fierce fight against the Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska (5-7, 6-2, 7-5).
Pair, between enigma and abandonment
As for the French Alizé Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic, they easily disposed of their respective opponents, the American Catherine McNally (6-0, 6-4) and the Latvian Anastasija Sevastova (6-3, 6-4). Benoît Paire was not there, giving up in the first round against Borna Coric. Visibly weakened and ill, he forfeited while being led 6-0, 1-0 by the Croatian. The Frenchman did not give details of his illness and unavailability, but, while he is supposed to compete in the US Open next week, he posted a rather cryptic story on Instagram, appearing to indicate that he is soon sees return to the highest level.
Men's 1st round results:
Berankis (LTU) - Paul (USA) 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5
Auger-Aliassime (CAN / N.15) - Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4, 6-1
Shapovalov (CAN / N.12) - Cilic (CRO) 6-3, 6-3
Struff (GER) - De Minaur (AUS) 6-2, 6-4
Coric (CRO) - Pair (FRA) 6 -0, 1-0 (retirement)
Fritz (USA) - Harris (RSA) 6-1, 6-3
Carreno (ESP) - Lajovic (SRB) 7-5, 6-1
Opelka (USA) - Norrie (GBR) 6-3, 6-4
Anderson (RSA) - Edmund (GBR) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-3
Murray (SCO) - Tiafoe (USA) 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-1
Raonic (CAN) - Querrey (USA) 6-4, 6-4
Krajinovic (SRB) - Caruso (ITA) 7-5, 6-4
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