Andy Murray makes winning return to ATP Tour at Gijon

Andy Murray plays a shot

Andy Murray overcame a slow start to down Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-2 in the Gijon Open first round.

Murray hasn’t been in action on the ATP Tour since the US Open with his last competitive matches coming in the Laver Cup back in September.

The former World No 1 lost both his matches in the team event but looked close to his best when downing his Spanish opponent.

Davidovich Fokina claimed an early break off of Murray and looked to be cantering towards taking the opening stanza at 4-2 up and enjoying the backing of his home crowd.

However, Murray found his level and he reeled off three game wins in a row to lead 5-4.

It looked like the first set would go down to a tiebreaker but with Murray leading 6-5, Davidovich Fokina’s serve went off the boil handing the Scot the impetus.

Murray raced out to an early lead in the second set and led 3-0 at one point but Davidovich Fokina wasn’t quite done.

Despite enduring some frustration, Murray would close out the second set and advance to the Round of 16 in the North of Spain.

“In the first set he was playing much better than me,” said Murray after his one-hour, 44-minute win.

“He had a lot of chances to get the second break of serve and I managed to stay tough in those moments. At the 4-3 game he played a bad game to give me the break back and after that I started to play a little bit better.

“I think he was a bit frustrated, and then in the second set his level dropped a little bit, but the end of the first set was very important because he was playing very well and it was a difficult first set.”

The victory bolsters Murray’s season record to 24-16 as he chases his first title in three years.

“Obviously I still enjoy it,” said Murray. “It’s not easy, the young guys are moving up extremely well, and they’re all hitting the ball harder and harder. Sometimes it is difficult to keep up, but I still enjoy it.

“We had a fantastic crowd today, a really nice atmosphere for the first round of a tournament… I really enjoy playing in new places, I’ve never been here before and it’s a beautiful place, so I’m happy to be here.”

Murray will take on Pedro Cachin or qualifier Alexey Vatutin in the second round at the Gijon Open.

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