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Andy Murray’s Run Continues In Beijing, Zverev And Tsitsipas In Action On Thursday

By Ricky Dimon

Andy Murray booked a spot in his first quarterfinal of the season when he defeated fellow Brit Cameron Norrie 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-1 in round two of the China Open on Wednesday afternoon. Murray, who upset eighth-seeded Matteo Berrettini in the first round, prevailed after two hours and 52 minutes.

The former world No. 1 continues to impress in his comeback from hip surgery while battling through tough match after tough match.

“I’m tired; I just had a sleep before coming (into press),” Murray admitted. “I’m really tired. That’s the first time I’ve had to [play matches on back-to-back days] since I came back…. It’s something that I need to kind of get used to again, especially playing at this level and that intensity.

“It was a good step for me. It’s great that I won the match. Whether I’d won or lost it, I was able to come out the following day and be competitive and play some good tennis. But obviously I’m happy I’ve got the day off tomorrow to recover.”

Next up for Murray on Friday is No. 1 seed Dominic Thiem, who dismissed Chinese wild card Zhizhen Zhang 6-3, 6-3.

Second-round action will continue on Thursday, when Alexander Zverev faces Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas squares off against Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Zverev needs to make a late push if he wants a shot at defending his 2018 Nitto ATP Finals title, and Laver Cup heroics may propel him to do just that. The sixth-ranked German won the deciding match 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 over Milos Raonic to begin his fall swing in style on the heels of a mostly disappointing summer. Zverev, who is 11th in the race to London but can climb to No. 7 by capturing the Beijing title, defeated Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-2 in round one.

Auger-Aliassime lost their only previous encounter 6-1, 6-4 earlier this season on the red clay of Monte-Carlo. The 19-year-old Canadian was on fire this spring and on grass this summer, but he appears to have hit the wall toward the end of a long 2019 campaign. He is just 1-4 in his last five matches since reaching the third round in front of the home crowd in Montreal. Auger-Aliassime at least managed to defeat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas and Basilashvili will also be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers. Their only previous meeting came at the Australian Open in January, when Tsitsipas prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 on his eventual way to the semis. Not too much unlike Zverev, however, the seventh-ranked Greek has cooled off bigtime since the French Open. His only productive result since then is a semifinal showing in Washington, D.C. and he had lost five tournament matches in a row prior to arriving in Beijing. Tsitsipas mercifully ended that skid by getting the best of Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in his Beijing opener.

Basilashvili is the defending champion, having knocked off Juan Martin Del Potro in last year’s final. The world No. 17 from Georgia has advanced multiple rounds at four of his last five events, a stretch that includes a repeat title on the clay courts of Hamburg. Basilashvili beat an in-form Guido Pella 6-4, 7-6(3) on Tuesday.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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