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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Andy Murray had to adapt to pace of court in Shanghai Masters win over Juan Ignacio Londero

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Andy Murray admitted he had struggled with the pace of the court early on after he continued his comeback from hip surgery with a first-round win over Juan Ignacio Londero at the Shanghai Masters.

Murray recovered from a poor first set to beat Argentinian qualifier Londero 2-6 6-2 6-3.

The Scot, who returned to singles action at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in August and reached the quarter-finals of the China Open last week, will play Italy’s 10th-seeded Fabio Fognini in round two.

Murray, quoted on atptour.com, said: “The court is by far the fastest conditions that I have played in since I came back.

“I really struggled with that early on. I was mistiming the ball. I felt quite slow on the court, and he was pretty much dictating all of the points.

“I managed kind of early on in the second set to start putting a bit more on my ball, going for my shots a little bit more and just trying to hit through the court a bit more, get him on the defensive, which I did pretty well.”

A series of forehand errors saw Murray – currently ranked 289th in the world – slip to an early deficit against world number 56 Londero, who converted two of five break-point opportunities in the opening set and held off all three on his own serve, to take a commanding lead.

Murray’s expectations were clear in the way he vocally and visibly expressed his frustration after struggling to make the desired impression.

But he was much improved in the second as he returned the favour, breaking his increasingly vocal opponent twice while not allowing him any openings on his own serve.

Murray squandered an early advantage in the deciding set when, having broken Londero to love to establish a 3-1 lead, he was immediately broken back.

But Murray let out a roar after claiming the third consecutive break and he would hold on for the win, despite falling 40-15 down when he served for the match.

Murray added: “I think each week I have been feeling good, better. In the beginning I didn’t necessarily feel good. But last couple of weeks have been, I think, much improved.

“My movement overall has been very good in comparison to what it was over in the States, and I’m hoping that’s something that can get a little bit better.”

On the prospect of playing world number 12 Fognini, who he leads 4-3 in their head-to-head record, Murray said: “I have always had tough matches with him.

“He’s not an easy guy to play against. Unbelievably talented guy. Good hand skills. Moves well. A little bit up and down sometimes in his matches, but he’s playing really well.”

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