Zhuhai | Murray scores his first win at Tour level
Andy Murray resumed his rehabilitation in public with a dramatic three set win over the player who defeated him on his last outing on on the main tour.
It was important for me to get my first win on Tour since the operation, Now it's pretty cool to play and not have pain there, Andy Murray
At the conclusion of the first round match at the Zhuhai Championships in China, Andy Murray described his first singles victory on the ATP Tour since his major hip operation last January, as “one of the toughest matches I’ve had”.
The former World and British No.1 looked absolutely drained following his 6-3 6-7(6) 6-1 victory over Tennys Sandgren, the American ranked 69.
A three-time Grand Slam winner but now ranked 413 in the world, the Scot has competed mostly in doubles since his major surgery and recently played singles on the lower-level Challenger Tour in Mallorca where he won through two rounds.
In the second round on Thursday he faces the world 31 and seventh seed Alex de Minaur of Australia and will need the day’s break to fully recover from the exhausting two-hour and 41-minute clash.
“In some ways it was one of the toughest wins that I’ve had,” the 32-year-old said, but was happy with his performance and the result.
“It’s good to see I’m still progressing and making improvements. Tonight was a really good match to get through but I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
The Briton admitted he was tired but more importantly, his hip felt good. “It was important for me to get my first win on Tour since the operation,” he added. “Now it’s pretty cool to play and not have pain there,” he said.
There were certainly glimpses of Murray of old as he pocketed the first set in 41-miures and looked set to seal the win in straight sets but squandered a match point in the second set tiebreak allowing Sandgren to go on and level the match.
But then the American lost his momentum as he immediately fell 3-0 behind in the decider and despite battling for nearly twenty minutes in the fourth game with Murray forcing him into 13 deuces he fell further behind as Murray extended his lead to 4-0 and 5-0 before collecting his first game of the set.
The 28-year-old received attention to his foot midway through the set with the physio strapping it up but it didn’t seem to slow the American down.
Both players aced each other 13 times but was possibly more satisfying to Murray, was his serve was operating to good effect and he never faced a single break point.
After Zhuhai, Murray will play the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters, before returning to Europe to compete in Antwerp, as he builds his form sufficiently to make th latter stages of the majors next year.
Earlier in the week Cam Norrie scored a very satisfying straight sets victory when he eliminated Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-1 6-4. The British No3 faces the third seed Gael Monfils on Wednesday.