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Sports · 27 May 2024

Murray Bows Out Early: Wawrinka Claims Straight-Set French Open Triumph

					Murray Bows Out Early: Wawrinka Claims Straight-Set French Open Triumph Perbesar

PARIS – Veteran tennis stars clashed on Sunday night at the French Open, with Andy Murray succumbing to an inspired Stan Wawrinka in straight sets, resulting in a first-round exit for the Brit.

Both players boast three Grand Slam titles, but in this encounter between the 37-year-old Murray and the 39-year-old Wawrinka, it was the Swiss who emerged victorious with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win in 2 hours and 19 minutes.

“Disappointed,” Murray admitted post-match. “Stan has always played brilliantly on this court, and tonight was no exception. I didn’t have many opportunities. Given my preparation, I didn’t have high expectations, but it’s still disappointing.”

Murray acknowledged the physical challenges he faces, especially on clay. “Physically, tennis is tough for me these days. Clay has always been difficult due to my back issues, something I’ve dealt with throughout my career.”

The match, which felt more like a heavyweight bout, featured powerful exchanges and strategic drop shots that captivated the audience. Wawrinka, displaying dominance with his precise backhand, controlled the game and secured his spot in the second round, much to the delight of the French crowd, who remember his 2015 tournament victory fondly.

Reflecting on his long-standing rivalry with Murray, Wawrinka said, “It was emotional; we’re nearing the end of our careers. We’ve played countless times over the past 20 years. Andy is an amazing player and a big fighter. I think I played my best match of the year tonight.”

Murray, participating in just his second French Open singles event in seven years, viewed this match as a free hit. His best performance at Roland Garros was in 2016, reaching the final only to lose to Novak Djokovic. This time, however, it was Wawrinka who halted his progress in the opening round.

This could be Murray’s final year on tour, having indicated earlier that he doesn’t plan to play much beyond this summer, which includes a possible Olympic appearance in Paris in August. However, he has not definitively ruled out future French Opens.

Murray’s participation in Roland Garros was in doubt after he suffered a ruptured ankle ligament at the Miami Open in March. Initial recovery estimates ranged from 10 to 12 weeks, casting uncertainty over his readiness for the French Open and Wimbledon. Remarkably, his recovery was quicker than expected, allowing him to return to competition after six weeks, during which he switched to a Yonex Ezone 100 racket for more power.

Despite a challenging clay season, with early exits in Bordeaux and Geneva, Murray faced Wawrinka again at Roland Garros. Their recent history at the tournament included a semifinal clash in 2017 and a first-round match in 2020, both won by Wawrinka.

In Sunday’s match, Wawrinka quickly broke Murray’s serve, setting the tone for the game. Murray fought back but struggled to capitalize on break points, allowing Wawrinka to dominate with his varied shots and strategic play. The Swiss player took the first set 6-4 in 53 minutes, continued to control the second set with a 6-4 win, and despite a medical timeout, sealed the third set 6-2 with consistent play and efficient service breaks.

Murray’s journey at Roland Garros isn’t over yet, as he will compete in the men’s doubles alongside fellow Brit Dan Evans. Meanwhile, Wawrinka advances to face the winner of Monday’s match between Cameron Norrie and Pavel Kotov.

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