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Dan Evans’ preparations for the US Open hit another stumbling block with a first-round defeat at the Western and Southern Open.
Evans began the US hard-court swing in sublime fashion by winning the biggest tournament of his career in Washington but lost in the first round in Toronto last week.
And he suffered another swift exit in Cincinnati, going down 6-4 6-3 to Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti.
The match was supposed to be played on Monday but was cancelled due to inclement weather and Evans will be wishing the rain had returned.
It was a tough draw against the world number 18 and the first set could have gone either way.
Evans started off inconspicuously and was broken in the opening game but recovered to level at 4-4.
But the British number two immediately lost his serve as Musetti again took control.
Evans did not give up, though, and forced two break points to level at 5-5, but the Italian held him off to take the first set.
A double fault from Evans handed his opponent a break early in the second set and there was no coming back, with a second break enough to send Musetti through.
There was also a first-round defeat for British number one Cameron Norrie, who lost to Frenchman Gael Monfils.
The world number 15 began well and took the first set, but went on to lose 3-6 6-4 6-3.
It means there is no more British interest after Andy Murray had been set to face 11th seed Karen Khachanov, but tournament organisers announced he had withdrawn late on Monday night because of an abdominal strain.
The former world number one had also pulled out of his last-16 match at the National Bank Open in Toronto last week.
Murray is aiming to recover in time for the US Open, which starts on August 28.