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Murray beats O’Connell in Stuttgart opener

Surbiton Trophy - Day Seven

SURBITON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates winning the first set against Denis Kudla of The United States in the Men’s Singles Semi Final match on day 7 of the Surbiton Trophy at Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club on June 04, 2022 in Surbiton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

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STUTTGART, Germany -- Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray defeated Australian qualifier Christopher O’Connell 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the Stuttgart Open.

The 35-year-old Murray dropped the first three games of the match but recovered to break O’Connell four times and celebrate his tournament debut with a 95-minute win.

Murray missed much of the clay-court season to focus on his preparations for grass. He reached the semifinals of the Surbiton Trophy last week, when he was beaten by Denis Kudla.

Seventh-seeded Alexander Bublik defeated Kudla 7-6 (3), 7-5 later Tuesday to prevent a rematch. Murray will now face Bublik in the second round.

Also, Swiss qualifier Dominic Stricker surprised American player Maxime Cressy 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2). The 19-year-old Stricker next faces top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Marton Fucsovics came back to beat Austrian qualifier Jurij Rodionov 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 for a second-round meeting with third-seeded Hubert Hurkacz.

Arthur Rinderknech defeated compatriot Ugo Humbert 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 and will next face another French player, Benjamin Bonzi. Bonzi defeated Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-1 on Monday.

Also, Nick Kyrgios defeated Jiri Lehecka 7-6 (3), 6-3.

The fifth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili was leading Lorenzo Musetti 7-5, 4-2 when their first-round match was suspended due to rain.