Andy Murray's singles comeback will continue at the Winston-Salem Open after the Brit accepted a wildcard into the ATP 250 tournament.

Murray made his first singles appearance since January at the Western & Southern Open, losing to Richard Gasquet in straight sets.

While the three-time grand slam champion has opted to skip the singles at the US Open, Murray will play in North Carolina at the hard-court tournament starting on Sunday.

"I've taken the wildcard to play Winston-Salem," he said on Thursday.

"It'll be my first time playing there. I've spoken to quite a few of the players who have played there and have heard they've got great facilities there for practice and the matches.

"What I need now is matches. I want to get myself back on the singles court and keep testing myself. Winston-Salem is a perfect place for me to do that.

"I know from speaking to players who have played there that the site is great – good facilities for practice, gym, the weather will be good from what I've seen. It's another step for me in the comeback and we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I can have a good run."

Murray has been in doubles action and is into the quarter-finals at the Western & Southern Open with Feliciano Lopez, with a clash against brother Jamie and Neal Skupski awaiting them.

Roger Federer crashed out of the Western & Southern Open after a "perfect" performance from Andrey Rublev, while Novak Djokovic moved through.

Federer, a seven-time champion in Cincinnati, was stunned by Rublev in his first meeting with the 21-year-old Russian.

Djokovic, meanwhile, had no such troubles, keeping his title defence on track with a comfortable win over Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the quarter-finals.

 

FEDERER FALLS TO PERFECTION

Rublev, a qualifier at the ATP Masters 1000 event, stunned Federer 6-3 6-4 in just over an hour.

The Swiss 20-time grand slam champion praised Rublev, who converted three of four break points in his win.

"If I play Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, I know more or less what they are going to do or can do. That's different with a player you play for the first time," Federer said, via the ATP Tour website.

"It's maybe a small advantage to have over us, but regardless, you've still got to hit the corners, hit the lines, keep it going. He did exactly that. He was really perfect today. It was a great performance."

Rublev next meets fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev after the ninth seed thrashed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2 6-1.

DJOKOVIC DOMINATES

Djokovic made it eight straight wins at the tournament by brushing past Carreno Busta 6-3 6-4 in 90 minutes.

The Serbian controlled the first set before being tested in the second, but Carreno Busta failed to take his chances, losing to Djokovic for the third time in as many meetings.

Djokovic will face Lucas Pouille, who upset eighth seed Karen Khachanov 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2.

BAUTISTA AGUT, GOFFIN INTO LAST EIGHT

Roberto Bautista Agut, the Spanish 11th seed, needed just an hour to thrash Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2.

He will meet Richard Gasquet after the 33-year-old Frenchman proved too good for Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

The other quarter-final is between David Goffin and Yoshihito Nishioka after their wins over Adrian Mannarino and Alex de Minaur respectively.

Meanwhile, there will be a doubles showdown between the Murray brothers after Andy and Feliciano Lopez moved into the quarter-finals, where Jamie and Neal Skupski await.

Novak Djokovic continued his winning run at the Western & Southern Open, cruising past Pablo Carreno Busta in the last 16 on Thursday.

The world number one made it eight straight wins in Cincinnati by easing past Carreno Busta 6-3 6-4 at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Djokovic was in control throughout against the Spaniard, maintaining his perfect record against Carreno Busta with a third win.

The defending champion and 16-time grand slam winner will face Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic won 12 straight points during the opening set, including breaking serve in the sixth game with a forehand pass at the net.

It was a clean first set from the Serbian star as he combined 13 winners with just five unforced errors.

Carreno Busta squandered opportunities early in the second set and he pulled a cross-court forehand wide to be broken in the third game.

Despite a much tighter set, that break was all Djokovic needed as he moved into the last eight.

Roger Federer slumped out of the Western & Southern Open as the world number three suffered a shock defeat to qualifier Andrey Rublev.

A beaten finalist in Cincinnati last year, Federer had breezed past Juan Ignacio Londero in the previous round but the 38-year-old turned in a below-par performance on Thursday.

Rublev, who had already knocked out Stan Wawrinka at the tournament, broke the seven-time Cincinnati champion twice in the first set, with some exquisite shots keeping the 20-time grand slam winner out of his rhythm.

Federer improved in the second set, but it was Rublev who forced the first crucial break to take a 4-3 lead, with the 21-year-old holding his nerve to serve out a famous victory.

Federer started badly by losing his opening service game and while he converted a third break point to get back on level terms, Rublev repeated the trick to go 3-1 ahead.

Federer rallied to hold serve but could not handle Rublev's power, the Russian wrapping up the first set within 29 minutes.

Swiftly realising he had to up his level, Federer was clinical on serve at the start of the second set, though he could not force an opportunity to break his opponent.

The world number 70 took full advantage, eventully breaking Federer to edge himself 4-3 ahead.

Federer held his opponent off in the next game, yet Rublev did not let the opportunity of an upset slip from his grasp, clinching a 6-3 6-4 victory on the first of two match points before shedding tears on court.

Rublev will now face Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals after the world number eight's win over Jan-Lennard Struff, while Federer's exit paves the way for world number one Novak Djokovic to retain his crown.

Nick Kyrgios has been fined $113,000 and warned he could face a ban on top of that initial punishment after his ill-mannered exit from the Western & Southern Open.

The Australian hurled abuse at umpire Fergus Murphy, describing him as "the worst, hands down", during a second-round defeat to Russian Karen Khachanov.

At one stage, Kyrgios violently smashed two rackets away from the gaze of the crowd in Cincinnati as he took a bathroom break, without permission from Murphy, between the second and third sets.

He has had previous run-ins with Murphy and called him "a tool" at the end of Wednesday's match.

The ATP, which runs men's tennis, came down hard on Kyrgios and issued a succession of fines for unsportsmanlike conduct, made up of four separate $20,000 penalties and one for $5,000.

He was given a further $20,000 punishment for verbal abuse, a $5,000 penalty for an audible obscenity and a $3,000 fine for leaving the court without permission.

Kyrgios, who was handed a ban from the tour for eight tournament weeks in late 2016, could find himself suspended again over his conduct.

It could mean the volatile 24-year-old's place at the upcoming US Open is at risk.

In a statement received by Omnisport, the ATP said: "In addition to the on-site fines announced today the ATP is looking further into what happened during and immediately after the match to see if additional action is warranted under the player major offence section of the code.

"That could result in an additional fine and/or suspension."

Kyrgios, who won the Washington Open title earlier this month, lost in three sets to Khachanov.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev were surprise second-round casualties at the Western & Southern Open, where Andrey Rublev set up a showdown with a seven-time champion.

Tsitsipas was sent packing following a shock defeat to Jan-Lennard Struff, while Zverev was surprisingly upstaged by Miomir Kecmanovic in three sets.

Fellow seed Kei Nishikori also exited the ATP Masters 1000 tournament but Rublev earned a meeting against Roger Federer.

 

STRUFF STRUTS HIS STUFF IN TSITSIPAS UPSET

Tsitsipas was tamed by Germany's Struff, who claimed a 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) victory after two hours, 14 minutes in Cincinnati.

The Greek fifth seed managed to save three match points from 6-3 down in the third-set tie-break, but Struff was not to be denied his fifth win in his past 10 matches against top-10 opposition.

Struff's reward is a last-16 clash against Daniil Medvedev, who beat Benoit Paire 7-6 (7-2) 6-1.

 

ZVEREV TALLIES 20 DOUBLE FAULTS IN EXIT

World number six Zverev surrendered a lead as he went down 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4 to Kecmanovic.

Zverev struggled after winning the opening set, recording a career-high 20 double faults to fall to 0-5 at the Masters event.

Kecmanovic, who reached his maiden Masters quarter-final in Indian Wells, will play 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut for a spot in the last eight.

Spaniard Bautista Agut outlasted Frances Tiafoe 6-3 3-6 6-1. Meanwhile, sixth seed Nishikori lost to fellow Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

 

FEDERER AWAITS RUBLEV AFTER WAWRINKA WIN

From one Swiss to another. Russian Rublev dispatched Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-4 to book a date with Federer.

Rublev saved all five break points against three-time grand slam champion Wawrinka.

The 21-year-old can now look forward to a first meeting with last year's runner-up Federer.

The likes of Karen Khachanov, David Goffin, Alex de Minaur and Richard Gasquet also progressed to the last 16.

Former champion Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from the US Open as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

Del Potro, 30, underwent successful surgery on a fractured right kneecap in June and the Argentinian will miss the year's final grand slam.

The 2009 champion and last year's runner-up at Flushing Meadows, Del Potro's career has been ruined by wrist injuries and the US Open marks the third major he will miss in 2019.

Del Potro, ranked 12th in the world, returned to the top 10 in the rankings in January 2018 after three and a half years.

The US Open has been Del Potro's best grand slam, where he holds a 35-9 win-loss record to go with his two finals appearances.

Denis Kudla moves into the main draw in New York, with Chris Eubanks receiving the wildcard initially given to his American compatriot.

Defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic overcame a slow start to see off Sam Querrey en route to the third around at the Western & Southern Open.

Djokovic – playing for the first time since winning Wimbledon – claimed a 7-5 6-1 victory over Querrey at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati on Tuesday.

While Djokovic made a brief appearance in the doubles on Monday, it was the world number one's first singles match after sealing his 16th grand slam title via the All England Club in July.

Djokovic struggled early in the humid conditions, recording three double faults after going big on second serves in the opening game as he was broken by Querrey.

Querrey came out with plenty of intent, taking the match to Djokovic, who fell behind 2-0 to the American.

It was far from Djokovic's best tennis, but the Serbian star broke back and eventually took out the set thanks to 14 winners.

There was plenty of emotion from Djokovic, who cruised in the second set thanks to a pair of breaks as he awaits Pablo Carreno Busta or John Isner in the last 16.

Former champion Andy Murray has revealed he regrets not asking for a place in the US Open qualifiers.

The Scot, who took the title at Flushing Meadows in 2012 by beating Novak Djokovic, turned down a place in the main draw because of concern over how he would handle a five-set match.

The offer of a wildcard was tempting for Murray, who is carefully managing his comeback from hip resurfacing surgery and has largely focused on doubles matches so far.

Murray, 32, wanted to prove he could be competitive in singles before accepting such an invitation.

He lost 6-4 6-4 to France's Richard Gasquet on his singles return on Monday in Cincinnati, and had already told US Open organisers he would not be taking up their invitation.

The Gasquet match was Murray's first in singles since the Australian Open in January, when his career looked to be in jeopardy.

By Tuesday, Murray had realised he had overlooked an ideal opportunity to prove his match fitness in New York, with three best-of-three sets qualifying matches for the grand slam event likely to have proven a perfect test of the state of his game.

He told BBC Sport: "I don't know why we didn't really think of it, but it just never crossed my mind until this morning.

"When I woke up, I was like – I want to play three-set matches. I could maybe test myself there, and if I got through qualifying that might show that I'm ready to play there. But too late, unfortunately."

Murray and Spain's Feliciano Lopez notched a doubles win at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, beating Romanian Horia Tecau and Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer 3-6 6-3 10-3 in the first round.

Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray said he needs time to get back to his best after opting not to play singles at the upcoming US Open.

Murray made his long-awaited singles comeback at the Western & Southern Open, where he lost 6-4 6-4 to Richard Gasquet in the first round on Monday.

It was Murray's first singles match since the Australian Open in January after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery, which left the former world number one's stellar career in serious doubt.

Despite his return to the singles circuit, Murray will skip the US Open, though the 32-year-old plans to play in both the doubles and mixed doubles at Flushing Meadows.

"We were hoping to maybe hold a wild card until a little bit closer to the time to see how I feel and get some matches hopefully and a bit of practice," Murray – the 2012 US Open champion – said.

"[It was] a decision I made with my team. I didn't want to take a wild card today because I just didn't know how I was going to feel after a match. I felt like I wanted to be fair for me to maybe try and get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that."

Murray, who looked rusty against Gasquet, added: "If I would have taken the wild card and then not played, then I would have been getting loads of questions about my hip and, 'Why has he turned it down? Is something wrong? What's the problem?'

"It was more likely that I was not going to [play], because although I did fine in the match today, physically, my legs felt quite heavy at the end of the match, and that's probably not going to change a whole lot in a couple of weeks."

Murray, who won the doubles title with Feliciano Lopez on his return to the ATP Tour at Queen's Club in June, continued: "I just haven't played a match for seven months. I hardly played before then, either. I haven't played many matches in the past 18 months, really. It's going to take time, and I haven't been practising lots of singles until recently.

"I need time, and it's not going to come back in one week or one tournament. It's been a long process to get here, but to get back maybe to where I want to get is going to take a lot of time and a lot more work."

"My mentality changed a lot because I wasn't in pain anymore. And I was always worried, 'What will I do with myself without tennis?' But actually, once I got rid of the pain, I realised I didn't really need tennis. Tennis wasn't the most important thing for me," Murray said.

"I'm obviously happy to be back playing. I thought it maybe would have changed my perspective completely on things, but I'm sitting here disappointed, which I think is probably a good thing, and if I want to get back to playing at a high level, if I was sort of just happy to be back on the court and not really worried about the outcome, then I'd be a bit maybe concerned about that."

Andy Murray ruled out playing in the US Open singles after losing to Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday.

Murray went down 6-4 6-4 to Gasquet in his first singles match since January after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery, which left his career in doubt.

The three-time grand slam champion was rusty and struggled with his serve just a fortnight before the final grand slam of the year starts at Flushing Meadows.

Murray later revealed that he will not be in the singles field in New York but plans to play in both the doubles and mixed doubles. 

The former world number one stated that he may compete in the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina next week as he eases his way back.

Murray, 32, won the doubles title with Feliciano Lopez on his return to the ATP Tour at Queen's Club in June.

He also played with Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the men's doubles at Wimbledon and formed a mixed-doubles dream team with Serena Williams in his home major.

Murray will link up with Lopez again in Cincinnati this week after his loss to Gasquet, having partnered the Spaniard at the Rogers Cup last week following a couple of matches with his brother, Jamie, at the Citi Open.

A rusty Andy Murray suffered a straight-sets defeat to Richard Gasquet in his singles comeback at the Western & Southern Open.

Murray won the doubles title at Queen's Club with Feliciano Lopez on his return to the ATP Tour in June after recovering from hip resurfacing surgery, which had put his career in doubt.

The three-time grand slam champion was back in competitive singles action sooner than expected in Cincinnati on Monday after taking a wildcard, but Gasquet consigned him to a 6-4 6-4 first-round defeat a fortnight before the US Open starts.

Murray, playing his first singles match since the Australian Open seven months ago, had a first-serve percentage of only 54 and did not hit a groundstroke winner until the second set but showed flashes of his class.

Gasquet, who has had injury issues of his own and underwent groin surgery in January, made Murray run more than he would have liked as he beat the Brit for the first time in seven years to set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem.

A nervy Murray started with a double fault and struggled with the ball toss as he quickly found himself 2-0 down but won the next three games to edge in front. 

Frenchman Gasquet unleashed a rasping forehand to go a break up for the second time at 4-3 and tormented Murray with three exquisite drop shots in the same game, before serving out the opening set to love. 

Murray showed his frustration after failing to hold in the first game of the second and Gasquet worked the former world number one from side to side as he maintained his advantage, but there was warm applause for Murray when he drilled a cross-court winner on the run.

He was not getting a look-in on the excellent Gasquet serve, though, and the world number 56 continued to have success with the drop shot as he wrapped up the victory, leaving Murray to turn his attention back to playing doubles with Lopez this week.

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open after winning the Rogers Cup.

The world number two claimed his 35th ATP Masters 1000 title with a 6-3 6-0 thrashing of Daniil Medvedev in the final in Montreal on Sunday.

But, after his run in Canada, Nadal has opted to skip the tournament in Cincinnati, where he won the title in 2013.

"World number two Rafael Nadal, our 2013 champion, has withdrawn from #CincyTennis citing fatigue," read a tweet from the tournament account.

Both Rogers Cup champions have decided not to play the event, with Bianca Andreescu also withdrawing.

Lucky loser Mikhail Kukushkin has taken Nadal's place in the draw, with Kei Nishikori in the same quarter and Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and the returning Andy Murray in the same half.

Murray will make his singles return in a first-round clash against Richard Gasquet on Monday.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic and seven-time winner Roger Federer are on the other side of the draw.

Former finalist John Isner edged into the Western & Southern Open second round, while Alex de Minaur also moved through on Sunday.

Isner, runner-up in 2013, was pushed before the 13th seed overcame Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 7-5 at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

The American has endured a tough start to the hard-court swing in North America, winning just two of five matches heading into the tournament in Cincinnati.

Isner served 27 aces to get past Lajovic and will face either Pablo Carreno Busta or Gilles Simon in the second round.

De Minaur also progressed thanks to a 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-2 victory over Italian Marco Cecchinato.

The Australian will meet either Croatian 12th seed Borna Coric or American wildcard Reilly Opelka.

Andy Murray said he has "zero pain" as the three-time grand slam champion prepares to make his singles return at the Cincinnati Masters.

More than six months after undergoing a serious hip operation, Murray will make his singles comeback via the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati.

Murray will face French veteran Richard Gasquet in the opening round after doubles appearances in Washington (Citi Open) and Montreal (Rogers Cup).

"I have zero pain," the former world number one said. "I'm not expecting to be moving as well as I used to but I still think I can probably move better than I am just now. But that will take time. I started playing singles again only a couple of weeks ago.

"Obviously, when you're playing at the highest level against the best players, they hit the ball big and it takes time to get used to that again. And there's still some improvement to come from my hip operation."

Murray last played singles at the Australian Open, where he suggested retirement could be on the horizon before falling to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round.

Since having surgery in January, Murray has already won a doubles title – teaming up with Feliciano Lopez to claim victory at the Queen's Club.

"Pain-wise, obviously, I don't have pain in my hip," Murray said. "Recovering from practices that I had? Fine, there were no issues later in the day with my hip.

"And then performances in practices with top singles players. At some stage you have to take the step to try to play. My team felt like this was the right time to do that. That's why I'm giving it a go."

Murray added: "It's gonna be difficult but that's just what you have to deal with. That's the situation I'm in and I would have signed up for being in this position that I'm in right now six months ago. Absolutely."

If Murray's comeback to the singles circuit does not go according to plan, the 32-year-old said he would be willing to drop down to ATP Challenger events.

"If things don't go well and I feel like it might take me a little longer to get up to this level, then that's definitely an option," he said. "That's something I'd be fine with doing.

"Ultimately, I'd like to be competing at this level. The quickest way to get up to speed is by being on the practice and match court with top players in my opinion."

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