Andy Murray secured a first ATP Tour singles win since returning from hip surgery over Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday in Zhuhai and gave the biggest indication yet he can climb back to the upper echelons of mens tennis.
His 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 win over the American, ranked 69th in the world, in two hours and 41 minutes was his first victory since the opening day of 2019 and by far his most complete performance in some time.
He overcame the frustration of failing to convert a match point in the second set tiebreak to storm on to win, with his serve and movement especially impressive in comparison to previous weeks.
In humid conditions at the inaugural Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships – an ATP 250 event – Murray played a more offensive brand of tennis than hes been able to produce in recent times, suggesting theres a growing confidence in his ball striking.
Of course, Murray needs to prove he is physically strong enough to win a string of back-to-back matches throughout the course of a tournament week but this was the ideal start to a three-event stint in China, with Beijing and Shanghai to follow.
He will next face seventh seed Australian Alex De Minaur – who earlier overcame compatriot John Millman – but he will enter that match in positive mood after avenging a summer defeat to Sandgren in Winston-Salem.
The improvements made by Murray – a three-time Grand Slam champion – in the space of a month between those matches was marked and British fans could be forgiven for expecting theres plenty more to come from the former world No. 1.
Murrays last outing at the Rafa Nadal Open saw him struggle with cramp on his way to a three sets defeat to the then Italian world No. 240 and he tempered expectations ahead of the Asian swing by claiming it would be naive and silly to expect him to return to his very best.
But the brief dip down to Challenger level – where he played three matches in a week – appears to have done him the world of good and he looks far more prepared for a serious return to ATP Tour action.
The serve looked more secure – Murray didnt face a break point – and he was able to cover the court more like old, acting as a brick wall which Sandgren struggled to break down.
It was that defensive work that saw him thrive in the key moments in the opening set. He forced Sandgren to go long to take a 4-2 lead and then survived a lengthy exchange witRead More – Source