Another match for Andy Murray, and another positive sign for the Scot’s comeback. The three-time Rolex Shanghai Masters champion fought past a persistent Juan Ignacio Londero 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Monday to reach the second round of the season’s penultimate ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
“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,” said Murray, who returned to singles in August at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
“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.”
It was an up-and-down match for both players as 23 break points in all were seen, but Murray was more locked in during the final set, breaking Londero in the sixth game with a forehand that was followed by a roar. The former World No. 1 then erased two break points while serving out the match to set up a second-round meeting against 10th seed Fabio Fognini, who’s looking to bolster his Nitto ATP Finals bid in China.
Fognini beat American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-2 to add 45 points to his ATP Race To London tally. The Italian, with 2,100 points, trails eighth-placed Alexander Zverev (2,255) by 155 points. Zverev, the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion, currently holds the eighth and final qualification spot for the season finale, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.
“I have always had tough matches with him,” said Murray, who leads the Italian 4-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “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.”
Murray, who underwent a second hip surgery on 28 January, is competing in Shanghai for the first time since his title run in 2016, when he won the tournament en route to finishing year-end No. 1. The Scot also claimed the Shanghai title in 2010 and 2011. At the China Open in Beijing last week, he won back-to-back matches for the first time since September 2018.
“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,” Murray said. “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.”