Returning Andy Murray given a tough workout in his Shenzhen opener
Andy Murray kicked off his Asian swing with battling win at the Shenzhen Open with his opponent Zhizhen Zhang retiring midway through the deciding set.
The 31-year-old’s last competitive match before Tuesday was his second-round US Open defeat to Fernando Verdasco at the end of August and there were signs of sluggishness during his 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 4-2 win over the Chinese wildcard.
Murray raced into a 5-1 lead in the opening set on the back of two breaks, but Zhang claimed one break back before the Scot served it out.
After the pair traded a couple of breaks in the second set, it was the Chinese player who produced the more solid tennis in the tie-breaker as he levelled it up.
Zhang started to battle to hold onto his serve in set three and Murray eventually claimed the break in game six with his opponent retiring at the end of the game.
The three-time Grand Slam winner, who accepted a wildcard to pay in the tournament, can expect a tougher encounter in the second round as he will face top seed David Goffin, who had a bye in the opening round.
— ATP Shenzhen Open (@ATPShenzhenOpen) September 25, 2018
Sixth seed Denis Shapovalov also advanced as beat Ilya Ivashka 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 while Ramkumar Ramanathan from India beat Czech Jiri Vesely 7-5, 6-1.
Mackenzie McDonald also reached the second round after Lukas Lacko retired while being down 5-7, 6-1, 5-0, and up next for the American is either seventh-seeded Australian Alex De Minaur, who beat Yuichi Sugita from Japan 6-3, 6-0.
More from Tennis365:
EXCLUSIVE – In conversation with the mastermind behind the revolutionary ASICS Tennis Academy
T365 speaks exclusively to Rene Zandbergen from ASICS.
Sara Errani has serving meltdown, loses, shouts ‘f*** ***’, meanwhile Kiki Bertens leaves court in wheelchair
All in a day’s work at Roland Garros.
Serena Williams admits her 2020 season could be over after latest injury setback
Williams sustained the injury at US Open.
‘I’m struggling to walk,’ says Serena Williams as she pulls out of the French Open due to injury
Serena Williams OUT of 2020 French Open.
Deadly Novak Djokovic likened to a ‘snake suffocating its prey’ by French Open opponent
“At the beginning, it was just surreal,” says Ymer.
2020 French Open: Follow the action from Roland Garros with our live scores centre…
Catch the action with our live scores centre…
‘I would like to see Wimbledon go ahead with or without fans in 2021,’ says Andy Murray
Andy Murray hopes Wimbledon returns to 2021 calendar.
French Open day three: Mikael Ymer stunner against Novak Djokovic, and Mo Salah backing for Mayar Sherif
The story of the third day of action at Roland Garros.
Fernando Verdasco set to take legal action after French Open exclusion over Covid-19 result
“Do I want to sue Roland Garros? Yes, obviously.”
‘There needs to be a bigger pool of support,’ says Heather Watson as she calls for more help for British players
All six British players lost in first round at French Open.