STARNBERG, October 14, 2020
Andy Murray lost in straight sets against Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the bett1HULKS Indoors held at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne on Tuesday evening.
The former World No. 1 from Great Britain had played the French Open at Roland Garros for the first time in three years following a return to the court after battling hip problems, but lost his first-round match in straight sets to Stan Wawrinka. At Germany’s new ATP 250 tournament, Murray was handed a wild card.
Verdasco was the dominant player, sent down seven aces and won 65 per cent of his first-service points to seal a 6-4, 6-4 win in one hour and 39 minutes. The 36-year-old Spaniard will next face top seed and recent US-Open finalist Alexander Zverev from Germany.
“This is a very important victory for me for many reasons,” Verdasco said on court after his win. “Playing against a player like Andy, we have been playing together for all our careers. We’ve had really tough battles over the years. It’s always a challenge and a motivation to play against someone like him. I’m very happy for that.”
In other action, British No. 2 Kyle Edmund was also eliminated in the first round after being beaten 7-5, 7-6(1) by South African qualifier Lloyd Harris, who will next play US-American Steve Johnson.
Marin Cilic battled past Marcos Giron from the United States. The No. 8 seed from Croatia fired nine aces and won 76 per cent of his first-service points to secure a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory in two hours and 30 minutes.
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Cilic will next take on Spanish young gun Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The 21-year-old from Malaga defeated Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori 7-5, 6-4 in just under two hours of play.
No more spectators in Cologne
Earlier in the day, it was announced that due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the city of Cologne, organizers of the event have decided to continue the tournament without spectators. All relevant tickets for the bett1HULKS Indoors (from Wednesday to Sunday) will be reimbursed through the advance booking office where they were purchased.