Wed, Aug 15, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Serena eases through; Pouille ousts Murray

AFP, CINCINNATI, Ohio

Serena Williams returns to Daria Gavrilova in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters on Monday in Mason, Ohio.

Photo: EPA

Serena Williams on Monday re-established her customary superiority, hammering Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 to reach the second round of the Cincinnati Masters in Mason, Ohio.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion showed full recovery in her first match since suffering the worst defeat of her career two weeks ago in San Jose, when she was crushed 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes by British No. 1 Johanna Konta.

However, the 36-year-old was all business on Monday as she cleaned up on Australian Gavrilova.

“I’m feeling pretty good tonight. It’s never easy, no matter what the scoreline says,” Williams said. “I definitely felt relaxed after the first break, but you’ve got to keep going and try to go in for the whole thing.”

Although she has not played in the tournament in three years, Williams lifted back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 after losing the 2013 final to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray’s injury comeback was sidetracked, as the three-time Grand Slam champion lost 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 to Lucas Pouille, while fellow injury patient Stan Wawrinka opened with a defeat of 12th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

Murray, returning from January hip surgery, was unable to get past the French 16th seed, hampering his preparations for the US Open starting on Aug. 27

“Physically, I felt okay. It’s quick conditions here,” Murray said. “He was a little bit sharper than me out there. I maybe wasn’t reacting as quickly to some shots I would have liked.”

Murray last played 11 days ago in a Citi Open third-round match, which took him three hours to win and ended at 3am.

“After Washington, I took four, five days off the tennis court. I did a lot of training, a lot of rehab,” he said. “As the year goes on, I’ll be able to get a little bit more consistency like on the practice court and on the tennis court.”

Pouille had lost his previous three matches to Murray.

In the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus lost 6-2, 3-6, 11-13 to Latvian Anastasija Sevastova and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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