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Murray bags first win in nine months

 

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

By Eleanor Crooks

Andy Murray claimed his first ATP Tour singles victory since January by beating Tennys Sandgren in the opening round of the Zhuhai Championships.

Murray faced American Sandgren in the second singles match of his comeback last month, losing in two close sets, and this was a demonstration of the progress he has made since then as he claimed a 6-3 6-7 6-1 victory.

Not since a first-round win over James Duckworth in Brisbane right at the start of the season, prior to the hip resurfacing operation he underwent in January, had the former World No.1 won a contest at this level.

The improvements Murray has made were clear, moving by far the best he has in any of his singles matches so far and serving strongly.

There were classic Murray touches too - a deep defensive lob from a seemingly impossible position to win one point in the second set, and flicked winners after chasing down drop shots.

Murray took the first set with a break of serve in the sixth game and had a match point at 6-5 in the second-set tie-break.

But Sandgren, ranked 69, saved it and made it three points in a row to take the contest to a third set.

Murray broke into a commanding 3-0 lead in the third set before dispatching the fading American and setting up a match with Australia's Alex De Minaur in the second round.

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