Andy Murray yesterday made the second round of the Shenzhen Open when his local opponent, Zhizhen Zhang, retired in the third set. The Scot won 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 4-2.
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It wasn’t all plain sailing for Murray against the 340th-ranked wildcard, with the former world number one saving eight break points.
In the first set, Murray showed the Chinese crowd glimpses of his old self. In the second, reality bit as he looked every inch a player competing in only his sixth tournament in over a year after radical hip surgery.
It was a surprise when Zhang, who displayed serious power and showed no respect at all for Murray’s second serve, began limping and retired in the third set.
The Brit will now face world No 11 David Goffin in the second round in what will be the toughest test yet in his comeback. Although he has yet to lose to the Belgian, a positive outcome would surely be a competitive match and a clean bill of health.
"It's a really good test for me right now to play against guys who are in and around the top 10," Murray said. "I think he'll be the highest-ranked player I've played since I came back so it'll be good to see where my game is at."