Andy Murray proved resilient after losing a lengthy first-set tiebreak to Sweden’s Mikael Ymer at the Citi Open on Monday.
The former world No. 1 pushed the match to a decisive third set, but in the end, Murray ran out of punches as Ymer advanced 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-1 in the first round of the men’s draw.
“It was disappointing obviously,” Murray said. “I thought there was some good tennis in the first set. After that, both of us were struggling a bit physically.”
The two went back-and-forth in the 80-minute first set, one in which the Brit couldn’t convert any of the four set points he earned. He would nearly match Ymer shot for shot before the Swede met a Murray drop shot with a backhand down the line. Murray returned to the same spot, but Ymer was ready with a backhand winner to finish the set.
“I started cramping at the end of the first set,” Murray said. “After that, you’re just trying to, I guess, find a way and get through the match, if you can find a way to win.”
The three-time Grand Slam winner rebounded in the second, winning five of the final six games in the set to force the match to go the distance.
With the D.C. heat taking its toll, the 35-year-old Murray was broken early in the third. Ymer sprinted out to a 4-0 lead and didn’t look back in his first win on a hard court since February.
“He‘s a very good mover. He defended very well,” Murray said of Ymer. “When I came forward into the net, he passed extremely well.”
“He almost liked it when you were the aggressor and he was defending and moving. He was very solid from defensive positions and moved exceptionally well.”