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Andy Murray beaten by Stan Wawrinka in first round of French Open


Andy Murray waved goodbye to the big stage at Roland Garros for probably the final time after a first-round defeat to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open.

The former world number one was well beaten 6-4 6-4 6-2 under the lights on Court Philippe Chatrier. It was a familiar feeling for Murray, whose last three matches on the Paris clay have now ended in defeat to his Swiss rival.

The first was the epic semi-final defeat in five brutal sets in 2017, a match which ultimately proved too much for Murray’s hip and almost forced him into retirement.

This one was more like the second, a straight-sets first-round defeat in 2020, but it has probably still nudged Murray another step closer to calling it a day.

Murray has, of course, provided plenty of unforgettable late-night drama over the years. But sadly, it looks as though the well has finally run dry.

In fairness, the 37-year-old Scot had done well just to get here having ruptured ankle ligaments nine weeks ago. It meant that the two old warriors, greats of the modern game, with  a combined age of 76 and just three original hips between them, met for the 23rd time in their illustrious careers.

Stan Wawrinka triumphed against Andy Murray on clay courts once again after wins in 2016, 2017 and 2020. (Getty Images)

Wawrinka is, like Murray, a three-time grand slam winner and was the French Open champion in 2015. Having broken the Murray serve in the first game, the 39-year-old turned the opening set into a masterclass in the dying art of the one-handed backhand.

It was, and probably still is, one of the best on the Tour, showcased by one sizzling winner down the line which brought Chatrier to its feet. Wawrinka should have clinched the set when he toyed with Murray with a drop shot followed by a lob, only to push an easy winner long.

But he wrapped it up at the next attempt as Murray sent a forehand long and looked at the sky in disgust.

Murray’s frustration grew when a volley into the net gifted Wawrinka break point for 2-1 in the second, which the Swiss gratefully accepted.

The shoulders slumped a little further with every shot that went wide and every winner that flew just out of his reach.

The second set went Wawrinka’s way after another makeable Murray forehand whistled into the net, and the third was frankly a procession, won with, predictably, a backhand.

So Murray, a popular runner-up here in 2016, exited stage left with a lingering wave to loud, appreciative applause.

He still has the men’s doubles to play, with Dan Evans, but the British pair would have to get a very long way to return to the main show court.

Plus, Murray is entered into Surbiton next week, suggesting that he had not expected to be at Roland Garros very long anyway.

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