Andy Murray has desired matches against the best from the world – and also on Tuesday he came up just short up to now, losing to world No more 12 Fabio Fognini in a second-round epic at the Shanghai Masters.
Less than 24 hours later beating Juan Ignacio Londero, Murray again back in action for a demanding looked evaluation from the Italian, and so it proved in a battle that eventually proved too much to the Scot.
Murray had fought back to level the contest after dropping the first group but using a statement win appearing on the cards that he faltered in the final stages. He served for the match, however a faltering function gave an opportunity to Fognini that he did not turn down and he hurried away with all the tie-break against a clearly tiring Murray.
Fognini has been in terrific form this year, winning his eponymous Masters in Monte Carlo and a triumph keeps him on track for a debut in the season-end ATP Finals, however, Murrays stubborn streak has been rising because his game-time has improved and it was at evident again.
Murray dominated the second group and has been back on level terms, although where the German 10th seed maintained the edge by winning the murray more than held his own in a competitive initial set to induce the gruelling contest to go the distance.
With served for the set at 5-4 he saw Fognini break back, only to do similarly himself, although A topsy-turvy decider saw both players gambling break points but it seemed like Murray had captured the initiative to split out the real opening.
Murray had the chance to shut the competition but his first function out and Fognini pounced at every opportunity, breaking at 6-6 to set up a tie break.
Despite defeat, it has been an enormously successful three months in China to get Murray. The three-time Grand Slam winner beat world No 13 Matteo Berrettini in Beijing last week as he set together back-to-back wins at ATP level for first time since his return.
Murray has climbed to world No 289 about the rear of his form from Shanghai and his run to the round means when the rankings are next updated, he will break back into the top 250.
There was disappointment for British No 3 Cameron Norrie, that proved to be no match for world No 4 Daniil Medvedev, that ran out a winner that is 6-1 that is comfortable 6-3 in only 54 minutes of this clash.
More to follow…
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