Andy Murray eased into the second round of the Winston-Salem Open with a 6-2 6-0 win over lucky loser Noah Rubin.
Murray was due to face Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster match, but the Australian withdrew due to a knee injury.
That meant world No 306 Rubin was called up after losing a dramatic final-round qualifying clash against Lucas Pouille earlier in the day.
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“I didn’t know if I was going to play tonight,” said Murray after the 58-minute win.
“They said if I was playing against a qualifier then I wouldn’t play and then I drew a lucky loser… so then I was playing Noah… It was tricky.
“It was obviously difficult for 45 minutes and then the first couple of games because you’ve gone over a strategy with your coach about the match you’re going to play and then obviously that changes…20 minutes before you go on court you’re playing someone you haven’t played against.”
Murray won 92 per cent of first-serve points and broke five times to set up a second-round meeting with 13th seed Frances Tiafoe.
“It’s a bit tricky but obviously after the first few games I started to get a bit more comfortable and then towards then end he was struggling a bit,” added Murray.
“Unfortunately I know he’s from here and that’s great. It was a nice atmosphere to play in and everything but my job is to try to win the match.”
Kyrgios said he was “excited” to play Murray but has been battling the knee injury for two weeks.
“To play Andy Murray, one of my good friends and a tennis icon would have been amazing, but obviously I have to look after my body. I just didn’t feel as if the risk was worth [playing] today. I’ve got to be more cautious with it, keep rehabbing, keep training.
“I just need a bit more time. As a professional athlete playing on Tour for this long I want to look after my body, I want to do it right."
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