Andy Murray beats Denis Kudla in 1st round of San Diego Open

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SAN DIEGO (AP)Former world No. 1 Andy Murray of Britain beat Denis Kudla of the United States 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the San Diego Open on Tuesday night.

The 34-year-old Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, is still trying to work his way back to form after two hip operations and a series of other injuries.

Murray, currently ranked No. 109, had been scheduled to play 52nd-ranked Kei Nishikori, but the 31-year-old from Japan withdrew with a back injury.

Murray was fresh off an encouraging quarterfinal run last week in Metz, where he fell to the eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz. At the U.S. Open, Murray pushed third-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets.

”It’s been better,” Murray said. ”The U.S. Open was sort of the start of where I played a bit better and I just need to start beating some higher ranked players.”

Murray advances to the second round to face second-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway, who helped Team Europe capture the Laver Cup last weekend.

”I’ve had opportunities in those matches against the top players I’ve played. I think I can beat them. I just need to start converting some of my opportunities against them and I get an opportunity on Thursday to do that against Ruud,” Murray said.

Murray is a wild-card entry in this hard-court tournament that was created this year to help fill a gap in the ATP calendar created when the post-U.S. Open circuit in Asia was called off because of COVID-19 concerns.

In another first-round match, Sebastian Korda of the United States, ranked No. 42, beat countryman Tommy Paul, ranked 60th, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Also, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria beat Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, and Italy’s Lornezo Sonego beat Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-3, 6-4.

Top seed Andrey Rublev will make his tournament debut against local favorite Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday.

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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