Murray beaten again as he bows out in first round of Open 13 Provence

The former world number one suffered a sixth consecutive defeat.

Andy Murray beaten again as he bows out in first round of Open 13 Provence PA Media

Andy Murray’s miserable run continued with a first-round loss to Tomas Machac at the Open 13 Provence.

The 36-year-old’s 7-5 6-4 defeat by Czech Machac in Marseille was his sixth in a row dating back to October and means he has won only one of his last 10 matches.

Murray has admitted he is weighing up when to retire, but he railed against a suggestion he could be tarnishing his legacy by playing on, writing on X, formerly Twitter last week: “Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I’m not most people and my mind works differently. I won’t quit.”

This was not a bad performance against a player on the rise in 23-year-old Machac, ranked 66, but again there were costly lapses.

Murray recovered from an early break and appeared to have the momentum late in the opening set, only for Machac to break serve at 5-5.

The Czech then moved ahead early in the second set and Murray was unable to recover the deficit.

It was a significantly better day, though, for Heather Watson, who claimed her best victory by ranking since 2017 to upset ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 7-5 at the Abu Dhabi Open.

Heather Watson celebrates beating Veronika Kudermetova
Heather Watson celebrates beating Veronika Kudermetova (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

Watson struggled in 2023, but she played confident, aggressive tennis to defeat 16th-ranked Russian Kudermetova and the win could see her break back into the world’s top 130.

“I know she’s such a great player so I knew I had to play really well today,” said Watson, who defeated former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first round of qualifying.

“I just focused on what was in my control, my serve and just trying to be as aggressive as I can. I played really well and had a lot of fun out here today.”

Watson joins compatriot Emma Raducanu in the second round and will next face Spaniard Cristina Bucsa.

Harriet Dart, meanwhile, is on the verge of moving back into the top 100 after a 6-4 7-6 (0) victory over Anna Bondar in the opening round of the Transylvania Open in Romania.

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