Tennis

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime suffers 1st-round loss at Cincinnati event

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime has made an early exit at the Western & Southern Open. Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic upset the 19-year-old from Montreal 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the ATP Tour 1000 Masters event on Monday.

Montreal native committed 31 unforced errors in defeat

Felix Auger-Aliassime, pictured competing at the Rogers Cup last week, will be the highest-ranked Canadian for the first time in next week's rankings despite Monday’s loss to Miomir Kecmanovic. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime has made an early exit at the Western & Southern Open.

Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic upset the 19-year-old from Montreal 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the ATP Tour 1000 Masters event on Monday.

Kecmanovic is ranked 58th in the world, while Auger-Aliassime is 21st.

Coming off a run to the third round at his hometown Rogers Cup last week, Auger-Aliassime didn't come close to matching that result at the second Masters event in a row.

Auger-Aliassime had 31 unforced errors, 22 more than Kecmanovic. That was a bigger gap than in winners, with Auger-Aliassime having 21 and Kecmanovic putting up nine.

WATCH | Double faults lead to 1st round exit for Auger-Aliassime:

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime committed 10 double faults in his straight-sets loss to Miomir Kecmanovic in Cincinnati. 1:09
Auger-Aliassime also had 10 double faults, nine more than Kecmanovic. The Canadian didn't have one break-point opportunity in the match.

Despite the loss, it's possible Auger-Aliassime will be the highest-ranked Canadian for the first time in next week's rankings. He's set to overtake Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., who is out this week after suffering a back injury in the second round against Auger-Aliassime last week in Montreal.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., ranked 34th, will face No. 10 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy in the first round on Tuesday.

No Canadian women are in the draw. Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., withdrew after winning the Rogers Cup on Sunday in Toronto.

Murray loses in return to singles

Andy Murray moved well in his first singles match since January, but not well enough to move on — even to the U.S. Open.

Using a bottomless arsenal of drop shots, Richard Gasquet snapped a five-match losing streak against Murray with a 6-4, 6-4 win in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday.

The singles match was Murray's first since a painful exit from the Australian Open that had him thinking his career might be over. The three-time Grand Slam champion underwent a second hip surgery on Jan. 28, receiving metal implants that helped eliminate the pain that had hobbled him for a long time. Murray played doubles in several tournaments, including Wimbledon with Serena Williams and at Washington with brother Jamie, before deciding to try singles at Cincinnati, where he is a two-time champion.

WATCH | Andy Murray happy despite loss:

Former world number one Andy Murray lost his 1st-round match in Cincinnati to Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4. It was Murray's first singles match in seven months following a second hip operation. 1:17

"I don't really know what I was expecting, to be honest," Murray said. "I think I did OK. I think there was a lot of things I would like to have done better in the match, but, you know, you also have to be somewhat realistic, as well, in terms of what you can expect in terms of how you actually play and hit the ball.

"I think physically, you know, my legs were a little bit heavy at the end of the match in comparison to maybe what they normally would be if you played, you know, a bunch."

The U.S. Open's wild-card timing led Murray to decide against playing in New York.

"We were hoping to maybe hold a wild card until a little bit closer to the time to see how I feel and get some matches, hopefully, and a bit of practice, but they were announcing the wild cards today and didn't want to wait," he said.

The 32-year-old's rust was evident as he double-faulted on his first serve, but he recovered to last 1 hour, 36 minutes with no apparent health issues.

"When he drop-shotted, there was a few times I didn't even run to the ball, didn't react to it, and that's nothing to do with my hip," Murray said. "That's just me not running for a ball, which I did do that better at the end of the match. I reacted and got to a few and won points."