Shanghai: Former world number one Andy Murray recovered from a slow start to beat Argentine qualifier Juan Ignacio Londero 2-6 6-2 6-3 in the Shanghai Masters opening round yesterday.
Murray, who is competing in Shanghai for the first time since his title run in 2016, improved after being broken twice in the opening set by Londero.
The three-time Grand Slam champion claimed the second set after converting break points in Londero’s first and last service games, before switching gears to take control of the match in the decider.
Murray sealed a crucial service break in the sixth game with a booming forehand winner and went on to set up a second round meeting with 10th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini.
The Scot is looking to build his form on the Asian swing this season after undergoing career-saving hip surgery in January.
He worked his way to a first quarter-final appearance of the season in Beijing last week, where he lost to eventual winner Dominic Thiem.
“I got better as the match went on – I had to start going for my shots a bit more,” said the 32-year-old Murray, who was awarded a wildcard entry to the tournament.
He reached his first singles quarter-final in more than a year at the China Open earlier in October.
Murray, who has won the title in Shanghai on three previous occasions – in 2010, 2011 and 2016 – improved after a difficult opening set in which he was broken twice by the world number 56.
And the Shanghai Masters present a new challenge altogether that he hasn’t faced since making his return from injury.
“The conditions are very, very different to the last two weeks,” he said.
“The courts are playing much, much faster and arriving fairly late from Beijing meant I didn’t get a lot of time to get used to it.
The event features Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, but Murray’s immediate thoughts are trained on Fabio Fognini, the world No 12, who has his sights set on a place at the year-end ATP Finals in London.
Murray will get a day’s rest before he faces the Italian, and will hope for a similar showing to his hugely-impressive victory over Fognini’s compatriot Matteo Barrettini last week.
Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov dropped two points on his first-serve as he eased past American Frances Tiafoe 6-4 6-2.
Shapovalov will next face newly-crowned Tokyo champion Djokovic, who has won their previous two meetings this season.