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Stefanos Tsitsipas edges Andy Murray in dramatic U.S. Open opener

Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Andy Murray of Great Britain after a 5th set miss to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Andy Murray of Great Britain after a 5th set miss to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Nine years after winning the U.S. Open championship, Scotland’s Andy Murray nearly pulled off a first-round upset Monday in New York.

Murray, now ranked 112th in the world after multiple hip operations, pushed third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas for 4 hours, 48 minutes before the Greek player prevailed 2-6, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

After winning the first set, Murray led 6-4 in the second-set tiebreaker before Tsitsipas saved both set points.

Murray got the only service break of the second set for a 2-0 lead, but Tsitsipas broke Murray’s serve to open both the fourth and fifth sets to rally for the win.

“It is not easy. I had to make lots of sacrifices to come back,” said Tsitsipas, who finished with a 19-9 edge in aces. “I think the atmosphere was great today, with a lot of positive tennis. The New York crowd is known to be one of the best crowds in the world. The fact we are able to compete out here with an electric crowd today is something we have been waiting for.”

Murray was left fuming by an eight-minute bathroom break that Tsitsipas took in the third set.

“It’s never once taken me that long to go to the toilet,” Murray said to tournament supervisor Gerry Armstrong.

Postmatch, Murray added, “It’s not so much leaving the court, it’s the amount of time. … It can’t be coincidence that it’s happening at those (key) moments.”

Murray said he believed Tsitsipas used a medical timeout when he wasn’t actually injured in addition to taking the extended break off the court.

“I think he’s a brilliant player.” Murray said. “I think he’s great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.”

Tsitsipas said, “I don’t think I broke any rules, I played by the guidelines, how everything is.”

Another former U.S. Open champion, 2014 winner Marin Cilic of Croatia, retired from a match for the first time in 838 starts on the ATP Tour. Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber led 6-7 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-1, 2-0 when Cilic, the 30th seed, stopped because of an apparent injury.

Fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia topped Croatian qualifier Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-3, and eighth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway routed Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Also advancing were 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, 12th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, 15th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, 16th-seeded Cristian Garin of Chile and 24th-seeded Daniel Evans of Great Britain.

Brandon Nakashima upset 19th-seeded John Isner 7-6 (7), 7-6 (6), 6-3 in an all-U.S. matchup. Germany qualifier Peter Gojowczyk knocked out 23rd-ranked Ugo Humbert of France 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia opens play Tuesday night against Danish qualifier Holger Rune.

–Field Level Media