Shapovalov, Murray advance in Cincinnati Open

Denis Shapovalov of Canada reacts during his first round match against Alex de Minaur of Australia at the National Bank Open tennis tournament in Montreal, Monday, August 8, 2022. (Graham Hughes/CP)

MASON, Ohio — Andy Murray pulled out a 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5 win over Stan Wawrinka on Monday in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in a matchup of three-time Grand Slam champions trying to put injuries behind them.

Murray and Wawrinka both have a U.S. Open title among their Slam championships, and both required multiple visits from trainers to treat leg problems during the 2-hour, 57-minute match at the hard-court tournament that serves as a tuneup for the U.S. Open.

Wawrinka, 37, of Switzerland, had two surgeries on his left foot in 2021 and has lost in the first round in each of his last four events. Murray, 35, of Britain, suffered an abdominal strain two weeks before Wimbledon but reached a second round for the first time in his last three tournaments.

“I was hanging on in the third set,” Murray said in an on-court interview. “I was struggling a bit. So was Stan. We’re not young any more.”

In women’s action, 13th seed Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., was eliminated early after falling 6-7, 7-5 to Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Fernandez was playing her third match since returning from a right foot injury suffered at the French Open. She won her first match at last week’s National Bank Open in Toronto before losing to finalist Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round.

And despite having his evening singles match pushed back by almost two hours, Denis Shapovalov of Toronto upset 16th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (4), 6-3 in Monday night’s first round.

Shapovalov had 10 aces compared to just two for Dimitrov, who seemed to lose steam after dropping the first set tiebreaker 4-7.

Serena Williams had been scheduled to face 19-year-old Emma Raducanu of Britain, the defending U.S. Open champion, in a first-round match on Monday that was pushed back to Tuesday because of what the tournament described as “a number of factors related to scheduling.”

Raducanu was anxious to face Williams, 40, the 23-time Grand Slam winner who is preparing to walk away from tennis.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to play the greatest tennis player of all time for probably the last time,” Raducanu said Sunday. “For our careers to have crossed over, I’m really fortunate that I got to play her. Whatever happens, it’s going to be an incredible experience for me and something I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life.”

Williams has said she wants to have another child and pursue business interests. She has not said what her last event will be, but she has made it sound as if her final farewell will come at the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29 in New York.

Williams lost 6-2, 6-4 to Belinda Bencic on Wednesday night in Toronto in her first match since she announced her intentions.

In a first-round women’s match Monday, unseeded 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova upset ninth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 6-4, while 14th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, another former U.S. Open winner, breezed to a 6-3, 6-3 win over qualifier Jaume Munar of Spain.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.