Beijing | Murray shows he is improving
Andy Murray scored a landmark victory when he dismissed Matteo Berrettini in straight sets to reach the second round of the China Open in Beijing for it was his best win since last January, following his hip resurfacing surgery.
Last week was a big step for me, Now I just need to try and get the matches, get them consistently, so that I'm used to playing three, four matches in a week Andy Murray
The former world No.1, currently ranked 503, required just over two hours to eventually defeat the 8th seed and 13th ranked Italian 7-6(2) 7-6(7) and, following his victory, declared he was going ‘in the right direction’ in regard to his rehabilitation.
It was certainly a step in the right direction having won his first singles on the tour since January, last week in Zhuhai.
“I didn’t really feel like I was playing at a great level,” he said of his match against Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati when he made his return to singles play having eased himself back into the tour by plying doubles.
“Whereas even last week (in Zhuhai), although I lost in the second round, I felt like I was playing tour-level tennis.”
But it wasn’t easy for the big hitting Italian took early control of the match forcing Murray to fight back which he did in the tenth game to recover the early break he had conceded.
Whether it was nerves that took hold of Berrettini at the crucial moments, or Murray’s greater experience when pressed, the 32-year-old Brit raised his game to grab the first set on the tie-beak which he dominated.
The steely determination which has been a Murray trademark was evident for again, he dropped his serve early in the second, broke back to level an force another tie-break where he saved two set points before claiming the victory..
Murray said that patience was now the key.
“Last week was a big step for me,” he said. “Now I just need to try and get the matches, get them consistently, so that I’m used to playing three, four matches in a week.
“Right now, at this level, I don’t know if I’m ready to do that or not.
“So the more I can get through these sort of matches like I did today, I’ll get there a little bit quicker.
“I think in the first set I served better than him. In the second set I don’t think there was a difference really. We played some very tight points up at the net and thankfully I came out on top one or two points more.”
And now he faces his compatriot, Cameron Norrie, the British No.3, for a place in the last eight. The two have never played each other on the tour.
“Hopefully I can have a good run here,” he added. “That was a good start for me. I think I play again tomorrow so that will be a good test for me.
“It’s the first time I will have played sort of high-level back-to-back days, see how I pull up after that one, but yeah, it’s a bit of progress for me again this week, which is good.
“I feel like the progress has been quite consistent and you know hopefully that keeps going through to the end of the year.”
Other results saw Felix Auger Aliassime, the exciting 19-year-old Canadian, defeat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3 6-4 to set up a mouth-watering clash with second seed Alexander Zverev
Also victorious is the top seed Dominic Thiem who defeated Richard Gasquet, 6-4 6-1 for the Austrian to go through to meet Zhizhen Zhang, the Chinese wildcard who yesterday eliminated Kyle Edmund in three sets.
Sam Querrey, the defending champion Nicoloz Basilashvilli, Diego Scharzman and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas were all first round winners on Tuesday.