Andy Murray’s long comeback road took another positive step as he reached the second round of the Shanghai Masters, his first victory at the very highest level of the ATP Tour.
My movement overall has been very good in comparison to what it was over in the States, and I’m hoping that’s something that can get a little bit better Andy Murray
He defeated the Argentine qualifier Juan Ignacio Londero (who had ousted the former world number one at a Challenger event played during the US Open) 2-6 6-2 6-3, recovering from a poor start and thensurviving two break points when serving for the match.
A series of forehand errors saw him slip to an early deficit against the South American world number 56 who went on to convert two of five breakpoints in the opening set whilst holding off all Murray’s attempts to get back on level terms.
But the Scot retaliated with great effect in the second set breaking his opponent twice and holding strong on his own service games.
In the third with everything to play for, the Scot squandered an early advantage having broken Londero to lead 3-1 only to immediately concede his own.
However he broke again and then held on to secure a well earned victory despite falling 15-40 behind when he served for the match.
He faces a much sterner test in the second round when he takes on the 10th seeded Fabio Fognini who cruised past Sam Querrey 6-4 6-2.
Later Murray admitted he had initially struggled with the pace of the court telling the ATP website: “The court is by far the fastest conditions that I have played in since I came back.
“I really struggled with that early on. I was mistiming the ball. I felt quite slow on the court, and he was pretty much dictating all of the points.
“I managed kind of early on in the second set to start putting a bit more on my ball, going for my shots a little bit more and just trying to hit through the court a bit more, get him on the defensive, which I did pretty well.”
A series of forehand errors saw Murray slip to an early deficit against the Argentine before he recovered to change the momentum of the match.
Murray added: “I think each week I have been feeling good, better. In the beginning I didn’t necessarily feel good. But last couple of weeks have been, I think, much improved.
“My movement overall has been very good in comparison to what it was over in the States, and I’m hoping that’s something that can get a little bit better.”
On the prospect of playing world number 12 Fognini, who he leads 4-3 in their head-to-head record, Murray said: “I have always had tough matches with him.
“He’s not an easy guy to play against. Unbelievably talented guy. Good hand skills. Moves well. A little bit up and down sometimes in his matches, but he’s playing really well.”
It was also a great day for the Scott on his comeback trail as he has risen a further 214 places from 503 to 289 following his success in reaching the quarter-finals in Beijing last week.
Unfortunately Kyle Edmund will see his own ranking of 42 slip again next week following his 6-4 7-6(3) defeat by qualifier Jeremy Chardy, his sixth consecutive loss since the Rogers Cup last August when he beat Nick Kyrgios.
Frenchman Chardy took full advantage of his only break point of the match in the fifth game of the first set and held out in the second set tiebreak to secure the victory.
The loss however, means the Yorkshireman will slip out of the world’s top 50 when the new rankings are announced in seven day’s time, leaving Dan Evans, ranked 43 as British No.1.
Evans though, failed to qualify for the Shanghai Masters while Cameron Norrie did and he, as the current British No3, world ranked 64, could leapfrog him having successfully secured a second-round place by overcoming Gilles Simon 7-5 6-2.
Another win could well do that, but he now faces the in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev, the third seed, which could prove too high a hurdle to clear.