CINCINNATI: Andy Murray admitted he does not know how he will perform in his US Open title defence, but he hopes a solid showing in Cincinnati this week will help him prepare.
The world number two from Scotland, who ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s champion last month, said that despite winning two Grand Slams he faces a new challenge when defending the American title.
“A lot of the pressure comes from yourself, how much you want to keep doing and how much you want to keep working,” said Murray.
“I hope there’s still pressure there and I hope there’s still some expectation. There will be nerves and stuff.
“It’s going to be a new experience for me, though, at the US Open [beginning August 26]. I’ve never defended a Grand Slam title before, and hopefully I’ll deal with that OK.”
Murray will play his opening match today.
First-round turnouts in Cincinnati
In first-round matches of the combined WTA and ATP Masters tournament in Cincinnati, German Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated former finalist Mardy Fish 7-5, 6-2 to set up a second-round match with five-time champion Roger Federer.
Swiss great Federer, who will be playing on hard-court for the first time since March, said he is over the back injury which bothered him on clay last month and is ready to bid for another Cincinnati crown.
Meanwhile, Spanish 13th-seed Nicolas Almagro went down to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, while Czech Radek Stepanek knocked out Italian 14th-seed Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4. Serb Janko Tipsarevic sent American Sam Querrey packing 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4.
In the women’s draw, ninth-seed Angelique Kerber, opened with a 6-7 (6/8), 6-0, 6-1 win over Italian Karin Knapp.
American Venus Williams, a first-round casualty in Toronto last week, bounced back with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova.
“In Toronto I was really nervous about serving,” said Williams, who has been recovering from a back injury that saw her miss Wimbledon. “Tonight, I wasn’t afraid of hurting myself.”
Australian Samantha Stosur, the 11th seed, continued the improvement in her hardcourt game with a 6-1, 7-5 first-round defeat of fellow grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. Russian 16th seed Maria Kirilenko beat Anna Tatishvili 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4).