Sport: Ymer ousts Murray in Washington opener as Halep, Pegula win

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray of Britain crashed out in the opening round of the ATP and WTA Washington Open on Monday, falling to Sweden's Mikael Ymer.

Sweden's Mikael Ymer makes a return during his victory on Monday over former world number one Andy Murray of Britain at the ATP Washington Open © Rob Carr Sweden's Mikael Ymer makes a return during his victory on Monday over former world number one Andy Murray of Britain at the ATP Washington Open Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his loss on Monday to Sweden's Mikael Ymer at the ATP Washington Open © Rob Carr Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his loss on Monday to Sweden's Mikael Ymer at the ATP Washington Open

The 35-year-old Scotsman fell to 115th-ranked Ymer 7-6 (10/8), 4-6, 6-1 after two hours and 50 minutes in the US Open hardcourt tuneup event.

Ymer, who lost his only career ATP final last August in Winston-Salem, will next face 15th seed Aslan Karatsev.

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World number 50 Murray, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion, was looking to boost his ranking in hopes of becoming a seed at the US Open, which he won a decade ago.

Ymer won 75 percent of his first-serve points, 49-of-65, and smashed 37 winners past Murray, who made only 25 with 35 unforced errors, five more than Ymer.

After exchanging breaks twice in the first set, Murray had a set point in the 12th game but sent a backhand wide and Ymer held into a tiebreaker.

Murray jumped ahead 3-1, lost the next three points, then won the following three to earn two set-point chances.

But Ymer smashed two forehand winners then denied Murray again with a forehand volley winner to pull level at 7-7, prompting Murray to toss his racquet in frustration.

Ymer, 23, took the set on his second opportunity with a backhand volley winner.

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In the second set, Ymer broke for a 3-1 edge only for Murray to break back in the next game and again in the seventh on his way to forcing a third set.

Ymer broke twice to seize a 4-0 lead in the final set but surrendered a break in the fifth game on his sixth double fault of the match.

Murray's fifth double fault, however, handed Ymer a break for a 5-1 lead and the Swede held to take the match on a backhand crosscourt winner.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep defeated Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-3, 7-5 in 80 minutes. The 30-year-old Romanian comes off a Wimbledon semi-final run.

"Always the first round is difficult when you change the surface," third seed Halep said. "It was good to win in two sets. The heat is a little bit tough because we're not used to this humidity.

"I know it's going to take time to make the game more solid and to be able to win matches in a row."

Former world number one Halep, the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion, won her 23rd career WTA title in January at Melbourne.

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US top seed Jessica Pegula cruised 6-2, 6-2, over US wildcard Hailey Baptiste.

Pegula, who won the most recent WTA Washington event in 2019 after two missed years due to Covid-19, will play against Australian Daria Saville for a quarter-final berth.

"It definitely feels weird," Pegula said. "It's great to be back."

- Edmund wins ATP return -

Britain's Kyle Edmund made a triumphant return to ATP singles after three left knee surgeries and a 20-month layoff by defeating Japanese qualifier Yosuke Watanuki 6-4, 7-6 (10/8).

Edmund, who next faces British 16th seed Daniel Evans, connected on 60 percent of his first serves and won 44 of 55 points off his first serve.

Edmund, 27, also denied Watanuki on 5-of-6 break-point chances and hit 20 winners against 30 unforced errors in his first tour-level singles match since October 2020 at Vienna.

"It's extremely rewarding to be back," Edmund said. "My early matches won't be perfect but I need to go out and test the waters."

Edmund won the 2018 European Open in Antwerp and the 2020 New York Open before undergoing operations starting in November 2020.

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Tennis-Halep downs Pegula to reach Canadian Open final .
Tennis-Halep downs Pegula to reach Canadian Open finalPegula put pressure on Halep's serve at the outset of the match and wrapped up the 35-minute first set with an ace.

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