Two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray made a step forward in his comeback trail as he earned his first singles victory on the ATP Tour since January at the Zhuhai Championships in China.
Murray, who is stepping up his attempts to return to the sport following hip resurfacing surgery, defeated world number 69 Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the tournament 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-1.
The victory marks Murray’s first on the ATP Tour since beating James Duckworth at the Brisbane International on January 1.
It took a gargantuan effort to prevail in a match which lasted two hours and 40 minutes, and which saw Murray let a match point slip in the second set tie-break, but the three-time Grand Slam champion comfortably prevailed in the final set.
The result marks the biggest milestone on the Scot’s comeback from surgery earlier in the year after problems with the troublesome hip almost forced him to retire.
Murray did though return to competitive action in the doubles arena in June, winning the title at Queen’s Club with partner Feliciano Lopez.
After playing his first singles games following surgery in August, Murray has endured a smattering of defeats at Tour level before registering wins on the lower-level Challenger Tour last month.