Trainers got a workout as Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka called them frequently to court as the veteran pair met for the 22nd time on Monday, with Murray carving out a 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-5 win at the Cincinnati Masters.
The 35-year-old Scot took nearly three hours to subdue his fellow three-time Grand Slam champion, requiring four match points to finally move through to the second round.
Victory was the first on hardcourt this summer for Murray, who was beaten in the first rounds of Washington and Montreal.
Wawrinka, like Murray, has been battling injury for the past few seasons and last won a cement match at the 2021 Australian Open. is last win of any kind came at Queen’s in June prior to Wimbledon.
Murray owns Cincinnati titles from 2008 and 2011 and has played the pre-US Open event 17 times.
Murray and Wawrinka split sets, with the third set starting with a pair of breaks.
The Scot finally closed out victory as he broke his opponent for 6-5 and struggled before finally holding serve for the win.
“We’re not young anymore,” Murray. “Both of us gave out best right until the end.
“Matches like this are a lot tougher than when we were in our mid-20s.
“Both of us love this sport, we’ve had our issues with injuries the last few years.
“The sport has been a huge part of my life, I started playing when I was four.”
Brit Cam Norrie advanced on opening day in the Midwest, posting a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 defeat of Dane Holger Rune.