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Murray battles to first singles win on tour since January in Zhuhai

Last updated on: September 25, 2019 09:16 IST

'I'm really glad that I can actually get the win today and hopefully I'll be able to keep going.'

Andy Murray

IMAGE: Andy Murray's last win on the tour came in Brisbane prior to the Australian Open. Photograph: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Former world number one Andy Murray won his first ATP tour singles match in nearly nine months with a 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-1 victory over American Tennys Sandgren in the opening round of the Zhuhai Championships, in Zhuhai, China, on Tuesday.


Murray, whose last win on the tour came in Brisbane prior to the Australian Open, did win twice at the Rafa Nadal Open -- a second-tier ATP Challenger Tour event -- last month before opting to return to the ATP tour for the Asian swing.

"After the operation in January it's been difficult and it was undecided at times about whether I wanted to keep going or not," Murray told reporters after claiming his first win on the tour since a hip resurfacing procedure that threatened to end his career prematurely.

"But I'm really glad that I can actually get the win today and hopefully I'll be able to keep going.

"Tonight I was hitting the ball well, movement was I think pretty good... I served well. Obviously there's things that I feel I can do better, but it was definitely progress.

"Now I'm tired and fatigued. (My) muscles are tired from playing the match, but in terms of how my hip feels, that feels really good."

Murray made his return to the circuit during the grasscourt swing earlier this year but only played doubles before his singles comeback at the Cincinnati Masters and the Winston-Salem Open ended in first-round defeats.

The 32-year-old fired 13 aces and did not face a single break point in the match that lasted two hours and 41 minutes in humid conditions.

Murray had the opportunity to win in straight sets when he had a match point at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreak, but Sandgren won the next three points to take it into the deciding set.

However, Sandgren struggled in the third set, dropping serve twice to give Murray a 4-0 lead and the American also needed a long medical timeout to have his foot strapped.

Sandgren, currently ranked 344 places above Murray, managed to hold serve once but it did not prevent a visibly exhausted Murray from serving out the match to set up a last-16 clash with seventh seed Alex De Minaur.

Barty survives scare to advance to Wuhan last-16, Pliskova through

Australia's Ash Barty kept alive her chances of preserving her world number one status at the end of the week after she fought back to beat France's Caroline Garcia 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the second round of the Wuhan Open on Tuesday.

Barty and Pliskova are in a race to end the week on top of the WTA rankings. As a result of Barty's win on Tuesday, Czech Pliskova needs to reach the semi-finals and advance one round further than the Australian if she is to return to the top of the rankings for the first time since 2017.

Pliskova beat American Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-3 to reach the last 16.

French Open champion Barty was off her game in the opening set which had five breaks of serve in total, with 19 unforced errors handing Frenchwoman Garcia the advantage.

Garcia, who won the title here in 2017, then failed to convert three break points in the first game of the second set which swung the momentum in Barty's favour and the top seed conceded only four more points on serve in the set.

"I had to make some small adjustments in the second set," Barty said.

"It was just about me being a little bit smarter with my serving and trying to be in control in those first couple of points."

Barty then raised her game in the third set where, at 1-1, she won 20 of the next 26 points to advance to the last-16 where she will face last week's Guangzhou Open winner Sofia Kenin, who beat Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).

Third seed Elina Svitolina beat Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 6-2 to advance while fourth seed and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep dispatched Barbora Strycova with a 6-3, 6-2 victory.

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