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.
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