Murray beats lucky loser Kudla after Nishikori withdraws in San Diego

Murray will next meet the No 2 seed Casper Ruud in the second round in San Diego

Andy Murray at the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center

The highly anticipated first-round clash between three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray and former world No 4 Kei Nishikori in the first round of the San Diego Open did not materialise after the Japanese player pulled out of the tournament hours before their match due to a lower back injury.

Murray and Nishikori were due to play for the 12th time in their careers but their first since the 2017 French Open. Fans will need to wait a little longer for their next face-off.

Murray took to the court against lucky loser Denis Kudla and scored a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win over the American to advance to another potential blockbuster showdown – this time against second seed Casper Ruud.

This will be the first meeting between Murray and Ruud, the newest member of the world’s top 10, who received a first round bye in San Diego.

Sixth seed Diego Schwartzman, ninth seed Lorenzo Sonego, former world No 3 Grigor Dimitrov. Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev and Americans Sebastian Korda, Brandon Nakashima and Taylor Fritz also won their first-round matches in San Diego on Monday.

After reaching the quarter-finals in Metz last week where he lost to eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz, Murray said that he was no longer motivated by just playing well and instead wants to win and aims to return to the world’s top 10.

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