Nadal, Kerber, and Murray all advance at Western & Southern Open
Rafael Nadal won his first ATP World Tour match since May, besting Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-1 7-6(4) in the second round of the Western & Southern Open.
Nadal came into to Cincinnati fresh off winning a gold medal in doubles at the Rio Olympics and losing in the bronze medal match in singles.
“I think I played well,” said Nadal after the match. “I think I played a good match against a tough opponent in the first round. After coming from Rio and the marathon that I had in Rio, it’s very important victory for me.”
Nadal’s next opponent is APT Next Gen rising star Borna Coric, who defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(6).
2016 Australian Open champion and Rio Olympics silver medalist Angelique Kerber began her campaign for her first Rookwood Trophy and the number one ranking on the WTA tour with an easy 6-0, 7-5 win over Kristina Mladenovic.
Kerber came to Cincinnati straight from Rio where she became the first German woman to medal in tennis since Steffi Graf in 1992. Despite the quick turnaround, Kerber showed no signs of fatigue against Mladenovic, who was playing her second match of the day due to weather delays on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t so easy to come to a tournament with just one or two days to prepare, and first rounds are always tough,” Kerber said in her on-court interview after her win. “But I was trying to play my game, and it’s so nice to be back in Cincinnati.”
Barbora Strycova, who is fresh off a doubles gold medal at the Rio Olympics, awaits Angelique Kerber in the third round.
Like Nadal and Kerber, Andy Murray came straight to Cincinnati from the Rio Olympics, where he became the first player, male or female, to successfully defend their singles gold medal.
Also like Nadal and Kerber, Andy Murray, the top seed at an ATP Masters 100 event for the first time in his career, made quick work of his opponent, breezing by Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, setting up a third round match against big serving Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
“Yeah, it was tough. I mean, obviously really humid here. Slightly different – well, quite different condition to Rio with the balls, and the court here is pretty fast. Rio was a lot slower than this,” Murray said of the transition from Rio to his second round match in Cincinnati. “Took a bit of time to get into it, but did all right.”
Murray was in full control of the match from the very beginning, playing efficient tennis from start to finish. The Scot won 20 of his 24 service points, 8 of 9 net points, and finished with a cleaner winner to unforced error ratio than his opponent, 15-17 for Murray and 11-20 for Monaco.