Shanghai: Roger Federer eased past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2 7-6(5) to reach the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters yesterday, avenging a defeat to the Spaniard in their last meeting at the same stage of the tournament in 2015.
Former world number one Andy Murray showed some more positive signs in his injury comeback but eventually went down in a bruising battle with Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
Murray twice served for the match in the deciding set, but Fognini dug deep to force a tiebreak and secure a 7-6(4) 2-6 7-6(2) win in just over three hours.
“There is a lot of things that I need to get better at, and I can do much better,” said Murray, who underwent a career-saving hip resurfacing procedure in January.
“I will go away and I’ll work on those things and be in a better position next time I play against him.”
Second seed Federer, who received a first-round bye, broke Ramos-Vinolas twice in the opening set and sailed through his service games without facing a break point in the match.
Ramos-Vinolas, who upset Federer four years ago to snap a 15-match losing streak against top-10 players, recovered well to force a second-set tiebreak but his Swiss opponent came back from 4-1 down to seal victory.
“I focused, because when you travel around the globe, you’re missing a bit of energy. Those first few games or matches can be sometimes a bit tricky,” Federer said.
“Serve was solid. I was hitting my spots and really was never in trouble there. But of course all of a sudden, being in a breaker, calls out for different play sometimes and different momentum.
“He had his chances, but it was a nice comeback for me, and overall.”
Federer, a twice Shanghai champion, will next meet Belgium’s David Goffin or Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin for a place in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Murray will play at next year’s Australian Open in what will be his first Grand Slam singles appearance since undergoing hip surgery, organisers confirmed yesterday.
Murray, 32, who has finished runner-up at Melbourne Park five times, was knocked out in the first round at last year’s Australian Open having said before it started that it could be his last tournament.
The Scot underwent a career-saving hip resurfacing procedure at the end of January and made his competitive return to tennis in the doubles at Queen’s Club in June, where he won the title with partner Feliciano Lopez.
“Confirmed: @andy_murray will return to compete at the #AusOpen in 2020,” Australian Open organisers said on Twitter, adding in a statement that the three-times major winner would be given a protected ranking of number two.
Murray, who is currently ranked 289th in the world, played in the doubles and mixed doubles at Wimbledon, partnering Serena Williams in the latter, and made his singles return in Cincinnati in August.
He reached the quarter-finals of the China Open in Beijing last week, losing to Dominic Thiem.