Andy Murray tasted victory for the first time in almost a year, beating Stan Wawrinka at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne to set up a second-round clash with compatriot Kyle Edmund.
Former world No. 1 Murray made his return from a long-term hip injury last week at the Fever-Tree Championships, but he was beaten by Nick Kyrgios despite showing encouraging signs.
Facing fellow wild card Wawrinka, who has had his own injury trouble this year, it was a different story as Murray dominated from start to finish to win, 6-1, 6-3.
Although the three-time Grand slam champion has yet to confirm his participation at Wimbledon starting next week, an enticing meeting with Edmund — who became British No. 1 in Murray’s absence – is to come in this tournament.
He’s back!@andy_murray wins his first match since 2017 Wimbledon, ousting Stan Wawrinka at the #NatureValleyInternational to set a second-rounder against British No. 1 Kyle Edmund.
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— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) June 25, 2018
Murray was quickly on the offensive and he broke early when Wawrinka sent a cross-court shot wide, the pressure telling after a series of unforced errors.
The home favorite kept pushing and his reward was another break and then the set, with Wawrinka making more mistakes as Murray showed flashes of his quality.
Indeed, Wawrinka continued to struggle against an on-song Murray at the start of the second, the break arriving after a lengthy rally saw the Swiss clip the net and drop short.
And when Murray looked set to be pegged back as Wawrinka gained the upper hand in the next game, a phenomenal stooping lob put the Briton back in control to continue a polished performance.
Wawrinka’s belated improvement at least tested the 31-year-old, but four break points were expertly rescued at 4-3 and victory was soon secured through a double fault and another break.