Zhuhai Championship: Murray Crashes Out Of Last 16

Andy Murray of Britain hits a return against Alex de Minaur of Australia during their men’s singles second round match at the Zhuhai Championships tennis tournament in Zhuhai in China’s southern Guangdong province on September 26, 2019. STR / AFP

 

Andy Murray’s bid to win a first singles title since major hip surgery ended prematurely with defeat by 31st-ranked Alex de Minaur on Thursday at the Zhuhai Championships.

The young Australian defeated the former world number one 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 and will play fourth seed Borna Coric from Croatia on Friday in the last eight.

The 32-year-old Murray on Tuesday won his first ATP Tour singles match since career-saving surgery in January with a three-set victory over American Tennys Sandgren.

Having enjoyed a day’s rest, he started with intent against De Minaur but failed to get his serve firing consistently and clocked up two double faults as he surrendered his second service game.

But the Briton, number one in the world in 2016 but now a lowly 413, broke back twice and sealed the first set when the Australian seventh seed fired long.

The 20-year-old De Minaur burst back in the second set however and Murray looked to be fading physically, the match going into a deciding set.

Murray will play the China Open in Beijing next week as he ramps up his return, but admitted to AFP this week that he does not expect to recapture the form that brought three Grand Slams.

Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas meanwhile had trouble breathing and quit his opening match before the deciding set.

The 21-year-old Greek was the strong favourite against unseeded Adrian Mannarino of France and took the first set 6-3.

But he appeared to labour badly after that, bending over several times on court and putting his hands on his knees.

He lost the second set 7-5 and retired soon after, looking red in the face and burying his head in his hands.

“I’m very sorry to all the fans who came to see me play tonight in Zhuhai,” said the world number seven.

“I was trying my best but unfortunately I had to retire as I was struggling to breathe out on court.”

AFP

Kyrgios Blames ‘Clicking Shoulder’ For First-Round Exit

Nick Kyrgios of Australia hits a return against Andreas Seppi of Italy during their men’s singles first round match at the Zhuhai Championships tennis tournament in Zhuhai in China’s southern Guangdong province on September 25, 2019. STR / AFP

 

Nick Kyrgios fears he could face several weeks out after struggling with what he said was a “clicking” shoulder in a limp first-round exit at the Zhuhai Championships on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Australian, who has been accused of tanking matches in the past, served underarm on one occasion and led the veteran Italian Andreas Seppi 4-1 in the first set.

But the unpredictable firebrand went down 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 in southern China after his game spectacularly fell apart.

Kyrgios, who has had numerous run-ins with tennis authorities down the years, said that he was “struggling a lot” — but he still played doubles soon after.

“I was battling with a bit of a shoulder/collar bone injury,” said the 27th-ranked Kyrgios, a colourful but controversial figure.

“At this rate I’m not thinking about playing until my shoulder’s — or I don’t even know what it is — but until my front of my shoulder feels better and I can serve,” he added, saying his right shoulder had been “clicking”.

“I mean the reason I lost today was because I couldn’t serve.

“If I could serve, it would have been a pretty routine win for me, to be honest.”

Asked if he could sit out the next few weeks or even the rest of the season, Kyrgios replied: “For sure, I mean at this rate I wouldn’t be surprised.

“I wasn’t able to even serve at a reasonable pace.

“I’m probably not going to bother playing until I can get it right again,” he added.

Kyrgios elicited a few giggles from a sparse crowd in Zhuhai with an underarm serve in the first set.

Coasting 3-1 and 40-0 up, Kyrgios served weakly into the net, before surging into a 4-1 lead.

But the Australian faded alarmingly from there and his previously dominant serve collapsed.

Kyrgios, who appears to revel as the “bad boy” of men’s tennis, repeatedly felt his shoulder and his game disintegrated as lost the first-set tie break.

The second set was a non-contest as Seppi, 35, ranked 74th in the world, strolled into round two in 65 minutes.

Kyrgios said that he still hopes to play for Australia in the Davis Cup in November.

“So until now and then I’ve got a lot of time, I can rest, recover, get my shoulder right,” he said.

Kyrgios has long divided tennis fans.

He is an undoubted talent but has a long list of misdemeanours including rowing with umpires and spectators, and throwing an on-court chair.

The Australian says he deploys underarm serves for tactical reasons, but Spanish player Rafael Nadal accused him of “lacking respect”.

AFP

ATP Tour: Andy Murray Records Significant Victory Since Surgery

Andy Murray of Britain serves to Tennys Sandgren of the US during their men’s singles first round match at the Zhuhai Championships tennis tournament in Zhuhai in China’s southern Guangdong province on September 24, 2019. STR / AFP

 

Andy Murray ground out his most significant victory since major hip surgery with a 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-1 win over Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday at the Zhuhai Championships.

This was the former number one’s first triumph in a singles match on the ATP Tour since the 32-year-old had a career-saving operation in January.

A three-time Grand Slam winner but now ranked 413 in the world, the Briton has competed mostly in doubles since and recently played singles on the lower-level Challenger Tour.

He faces seventh seed Alex de Minaur of Australia in the second round in southern China after coming through a physically demanding test lasting more than two and a half hours.

Murray looked exhausted at the end, slumping in his chair and puffing out his cheeks.

There were glimpses of Murray at his best as he sealed the first set in 41 minutes after the 69th-ranked Sandgren planted a backhand wide.

Murray, finally free of hip pain and now attempting to build up his creaking body for the rigours of elite tennis, gave a subtle fist-pump.

Murray squandered match point in the second-set tie break as Sandgren forced a deciding set.

But the American folded in the third, seemingly affected by a foot injury which required extensive strapping with him 3-0 down in the decider.

Victory was a small measure of revenge for Murray, who lost to the 28-year-old last month in his second singles tournament since his return.

After Zhuhai, the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters, Murray will return to Europe to compete in Antwerp, making it a testing next month on the long road to rehabilitation.

Prior to facing Sandgren in Zhuhai, Murray told AFP that it would be “naive” and “silly” to think he will ever return to being the player that surged to number one in 2016.

AFP