Andy Murray gets Cinccinati boost, but handed tricky opener against old foe with Cameron Norrie also lurking

Shahida Jacobs
Andy Murray in action

There is good news and bad news for Andy Murray ahead of the Western & Southern Open as he won’t have to play in the qualifiers to reach in the main draw, but said draw has turned out to be difficult.

Murray was scheduled to play in the qualies against Taro Daniel – the man who beat him in the second round of the Australian Open at the start of the year – on Saturday, but he was the first alternate for the main draw and he later moved up after one of the special exemption spots opened up.

But that was where the good news ended for the former world No 1 as he will face fellow three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka in the first round after landing in Section 3 in the bottom half.

Swiss Wawrinka, who is still nursing his way back following a long injury lay-off, is in the main draw after using his protected ranking.

The winner of the Murray-Wawrinka encounter will face either ninth seed Cameron Norrie or Holger Rune in the second round while fifth seed Casper Ruud could be a third-round opponent..

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Both Murray and Wawrinka made early exits from the Canadian Open this week with the former suffering a straight-set defeat at the hands of 10th seed Taylor Fritz while Wawrinka was beaten in three sets by Emil Ruusuvuori.

Currently ranked No 47 in the ATP Rankings, Murray had high hopes of being seeded for the final Grand Slam of the Year – the US Open at Flushing Meadows – but he will need to reach at least the final of the ATP Masters 1000 event and pick up a minimum of 600 points if he is to surge up the rankings.

Third seed Carlos Alcaraz is the headline action in the section alongside Canadian Open semi-finalist Ruud.