Competing in his fourth tournament of the season (all after the restart), a former world no. 1 Andy Murray lost to Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4 in Cologne's first round. It was their 17th meeting and the fourth victory for the Spaniard, the third in a row after the US Open and Shenzhen in 2018.
Serving at only 51%, Murray hit zero aces and four double faults, struggling on the second serve and getting broken four times from nine chances offered to the Spaniard. On the other hand, Fernando fended off nine out of 11 break opportunities, controlling the scoreboard and moving into the second round.
Andy saved a break point in the first game with a volley winner, creating three chances in the next one but squandering them all. Verdasco broke at 15 in the third game when Murray's drop shot landed wide and held at 15 with a service winner to confirm the advantage.
Taking 15 of the last 17 points, Fernando grabbed another break in game five when Andy netted a backhand, only to lose serve in the next one and keep the Briton in the set. From 40-0 down, Andy grabbed five straight points in game seven to avoid another break and reduce the deficit to 3-4, creating two break opportunities in game ten when Verdasco served for the set.
The Spaniard repelled both with winners (a lucky net cord on the second) and converted the third set point with a backhand drive-volley for 6-4 after more than 50 minutes. They traded breaks in games three and four in set number two before Verdasco forced an error from Murray to open a 4-3 gap, creating a match point on the return in game nine.
Andy saved it when Fernando sprayed a backhand error, bringing the game home and earning no less than four break points in game ten.
Fernando Verdasco scored the third straight victory over Andy Murray.
Remaining focused, Fernando repelled them all, converting the fourth match point with an ace down the T line to seal the deal and move into the last 16.
Lloyd Harris took down Kyle Edmund 7-5, 7-6 in two hours and three minutes, saving nine out of 11 break points and earning three breaks to finish the job in straight sets. There were no breaks of serve in set number two and the South African had the upper hand in the tie break to wrap up the ninth victory of the season.
The 8th seed Marin Cilic struggled again in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over a lucky loser Marcos Giron, facing no less than 18 break points (!!). The Croat saved 15 of those and secured five breaks to control the scoreboard in the sets he won, emerging at the top with two breaks in the deciding set.