US Open 2021: Andy Murray loses to Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dan Evans through, Heather Watson and Harriet Dart out

Andy Murray waves goodbye to US Open crowd after losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas
Murray, now number 112 worldwide, aimed to become the lowest-ranked man to beat a top-three opponent in US Open history
Location: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: August 30-12. September
Coverage: Daily radio comments on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra / BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text comments and match reports on the website and app

Andy Murray produced his finest show in four injury-plagued years, but fell nauseatingly short of beating Greek world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas in an exciting start to the US Open.

The British former world number one played in a way reminiscent of his best as he led by two sets to one.

But Tsitsipas fought back to win 2-6 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 6-3 6-4 in New York.

British men number one Dan Evans is through, but Heather Watson and Harriet Dart lost after Johanna Konta retired.

Murray was, as so often before, the British player who stole most of the attention on the opening day of the last Grand Slam of the 2021 season – even in defeat.

Now ranked 112th in the world, the Scot aimed for his biggest win by ranking since his career was derailed by a serious hip injury that left him retired.

34-year-old Murray was fired all the way through and enjoying the scope of the event, moving freely and injuring Tsitsipas with his quality from all over the pitch.

A seismic shock waved before the 23-year-old Tsitsipas – one of the favorites for the men’s singles title – maintained his focus and offered his time to win in four hours and 49 minutes.

“It did not come easy to turn the fight around, I had to sacrifice a lot,” Tsitsipas said.

Annoyed by the Greeks’ eight-minute bathroom break before the decisive set, Murray exchanged a tight handshake with his opponent before continuing to loudly chat “it’s a joke” as he gathered his belongings.

Even the loving and arousing reception that followed the 2012 champion off the field could not hide his irritation.

Evans through in ‘brutal’ New York conditions

Dan Evans in action at the US Open
Dan Evans has reached the third round of the US Open on three previous occasions, but never progressed

Evans, seeded 24, appeared to be struggling physically before winning 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-1 against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro.

The 31-year-old was the first British player on the pitch and ensured he started the nation’s singles challenge on a positive note.

After missing the Olympics because he was infected with Covid-19, Evans had lost four of his five matches since Wimbledon and appeared to be declining physically as Monteiro equalized for a set all.

During the second set, Evans needed ice packs and then also had treatment on his foot after winning the third set.

Former British number one Tim Henman, who worked at Flushing Meadows as a TV commentator, described the game in the heat and humidity as “brutal”.

But Evans dug deep physically and ran to 4-0 up in the fourth set before completing the win.

The Briton will play American world number 64 Marcos Giron in the second round.

Watson and Dart go out

Watson, 29, was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan, while qualifying Dart lost 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 to France’s Caroline Garcia.

Watson, who was subsequently to become Britain’s top-ranked female player Johanna Konta’s withdrawal, has now lost all 10 of her first-round matches in New York.

Darts, 25, played excellently in the first set, but was followed by a break in the second set as she had to go off the field for further treatment of what appeared to be an injury to her left leg.

After a long delay, she could not regain the upper hand against former world number four Garcia and missed out on a place in the second round for the first time.

The pair were among six British players to play on Monday’s opening day in the final major of the 2021 season.

But that number was reduced when Konta pulled out of her first round match against France’s Kristina Mladenovic with a thigh injury.

Around BBC soundsAround the BBC footer - sounds

Give a Comment