Murray Extends Beijing Run, Reaches Quarter-finals
British star next faces Thiem
Andy Murray continued his return to form on Wednesday at the China Open by reaching his first ATP Tour quarter-final for 12 months.
The former World No. 1, who underwent his second right hip surgery on 28 January, fought hard to beat fellow Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-1 in two hours and 52 minutes. It is the first time Murray has won two consecutive tour-level matches since his operation.
“I’m tired, I just had a sleep before coming,” said Murray. “I’m really tired. That’s the first time I’ve had to do that since I came back… It’s something that I need to kind of get used to again, especially playing at this level and that intensity.
“It was a good step for me. It’s great that I won the match. Whether I’d won or lost it, I was able to come out the following day and be competitive and play some good tennis. But obviously I’m happy I’ve got the day off tomorrow to recover.”
The 32-year-old, who reached the last eight of an ATP Tour event at Shenzhen (l. to Verdasco) in September 2019, will next face top-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, a contender for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals, who beat Chinese wild card Zhizhen Zhang 6-3, 6-3.
Murray, the 2016 Beijing champion, served for the first set at 5-3, but qualifier Norrie regrouped to break back and saved three set points in the tie-break prior to double-faulting at 6/7.
Norrie, 24, took a 5-2 lead in the second set and held a set point at 5-4 on Murray’s serve, but had to dig deep to clinch the tie-break. The decider was one-way traffic, with Murray winning the first five games of the set.
“The good thing about tennis is that you can change strategy and tactics,” said Murray. “I think if you watched the end of the second set, pretty much the whole of the third set, I tried to keep the points short. I started coming to the net a lot more. My feeling was that the average rally length went down by quite a few shots.
“In the third set, I didn’t really feel like out of breath after any of the rallies, whereas in the middle of the second set, I felt like there’s three or four games where we were playing a lot of long points, but he was also dictating the rallies.”
World No. 69 Norrie, who advanced to his first ATP Tour final at the ASB Classic in Auckland (l. to Sandgren) in January, is now 20-22 on the season.