Andy Murray’s disappointing season continues with loss at Open 13 Provence in Marseille
Andy Murray’s difficult start to the year continued with defeat in Marseille but Heather Watson earned one of the best wins of her recent career at the Abu Dhabi Open on Tuesday.
Murray lost 7-5 6-4 in another error-strewn showing against world number 66 Tomas Machac at the Open 13 Provence.
He has lost all four of his matches in 2024, including a first-round exit at last month’s Australian Open.
Meanwhile, Watson beat Russian ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 7-5.
The convincing first-round win was Watson’s best in terms of ranking since 2017, with Kudermetova ranked 16th in the world – 140 places above the former British number one.
“I played really well and had a lot of fun out here today,” said Watson, who beat 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in qualifying to make the main draw.
“I played a Grand Slam champion in the first round and that gave me a lot of confidence. That really helped. I knew the conditions and felt prepared for today.”
Last month Murray admitted he was in a “terrible moment” but said he “won’t quit” in response to an article which questioned when the Scot should retire.
Against Czech Machac, 23, he was broken in his second serve game and, having recovered to 5-5, gifted his opponent another break for 6-5 with a double fault and backhand error.
Murray lost his serve again early in the second and missed an opportunity to break back at 3-2 before Machac comfortably closed out one of the biggest wins of his career.
Elsewhere in Abu Dhabi, Naomi Osaka‘s comeback was halted by another first-round defeat as she lost 7-5 6-0 to American Danielle Collins.
The Japanese former world number one returned last month after giving birth in 2023, but struggled after losing a tight first set.
Osaka won her first match back at the Brisbane International at the start of January but has lost her three matches since, including against Caroline Garcia in the Australian Open first round.
“I know she’s still only a couple of matches into her comeback,” said Collins, who is currently ranked 71st in the world.
“But I think she’s playing well.
“She played a good first set and was serving very well and doing some really great things out on court.
“I’m sure at this point it’s just kind of regaining confidence and getting more matches under her belt and getting back into the routine of tournaments and that stuff, which can be challenging. But I thought she played well overall.”
Britain’s Harriet Dart progressed to the second round of the Transylvanian Open with a 6-4 7-6 (7-0) win over Hungarian Anna Bondar.