Andy Murray might well be currently ranked 832 but the former world No.1 showed it wouldn’t be long before he returns to the levels he is more accustomed to.
He beat Kyle Edmund, the Yorkshireman who has supplanted him as the British No.1, and no doubt reminded him that his tenure there might well be short-lived as he continues his comeback from hip surgery and a lengthy absence from the Tour.
Now I have to get my body to play that way consistently and work on getting better with every match Andy Murray
The 31-year-old Scot beat the 23-year-old fourth seeded Englishma, world ranked 18, after two hours and 34-minutes, 7-6(4) 1-6 6-4 to reach the last 16 of the Citi Open in Washington DC.
“That has been my best win since I started playing again (this summer),” Murray said. “It’s a great win for me. It’ll give me more confidence going forward.”
The two-time Wimbledon champion took the first set on a tiebreak after both players held their first five service games before exchanging breaks.
Level at 4-4 in the breaker, Murray won the final three points against Edmund, who beat him in straight sets at Eastbourne earlier this summer.
The second set was wrapped up in 35 minutes, with Edmund dominating with his serve, breaking Murray twice for a 5-1 lead and finally levelling on his sixth set point to force a decider.
As with the first set, the third saw both players hold their service games through to 5-4 in favour of Murray when Murray booked his place in the third round on his first break – and match – point.
“Now I have to get my body to play that way consistently and work on getting better with every match,” a satisfied Murray added after his win.
“Much better in terms of the way I played,” he continued. “Got a lot more points off my forehand. I was able to be more aggressive. I wanted to dictate more points and be inside the baseline, especially on the main points and particularly in the third set.
“I was less nervous. I increased my intensity at the end of the second set. I thought I did that well.”
Romania’s 93rd-ranked Marius Copil, who ousted French 14th seed Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4, will face Murray on Thursday for a quarter-final berth.
Meanwhile, Britain’s No.2, Cameron Norrie reached the last eight at the Los Cabos Open after beating eighth seed Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-3.
The 22-year-old went 3-0 up early in the first set and broke again for a 5-1 lead, but failed to clinch the set on his next service game as the experienced Spaniard broke back.
In the second set Norrie held serve throughout and won the match with his second consecutive break.