Andy Murray's Zhuhai Open campaign was halted in the second round as he slipped to a 6-4 2-6 4-6 defeat against a dogged Alex De Minaur.

Murray, who edged past Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday, looked in good shape when he broke twice on his way to claiming the first set, but De Minaur recovered.

The 20-year-old Australian came out on top in some riveting rallies, with a sublime drop shot in set three a highlight as Murray's lack of match sharpness handed De Minaur the edge.

De Minaur had squandered two break points at the start of the third set, though he made no such mistake to take a 5-4 lead eight games later.

Former world number one Murray kept his chances alive with some exquisite shots, only to waste three break-back points.

Having then failed to take a first match point, De Minaur made his second one count – Murray's return into the net ending a contest lasting two hours and 42 minutes as the Australian progressed to a quarter-final with Borna Coric.

Murray will turn his focus to the China Open in Beijing as the British player continues his singles comeback following hip surgery.

Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas retired due to illness prior to the third set of his encounter with France's Adrian Mannarino.

Damir Dzumhur will face Mannarino in the last eight, while second seed Roberto Bautista Agut goes up against Andreas Seppi, who saved five match points in a deciding-set tie-break en route to beating Zhizhen Zhan 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (10-8).

Meanwhile, Chengdu Open top seed John Isner fell at his first hurdle as the American succumbed 6-7 (11-13) 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) to Egor Gerasimov of Belarus.

Gerasimov – who will next play Denis Shapovalov – was joined in the last eight by US Open semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov, who marked his return to action with a 7-5 7-5 victory over Britain's Dan Evans.

Canadian second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime went down 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 to Portugal's Joao Sousa, Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Frenchman Benoit Paire, while Chile's Cristian Garin dispatched Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

Andy Murray considered his Zhuhai Open victory over Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday "one of the best wins" of his career.

The former world number one had not won a singles match on the ATP Tour since the Brisbane International in January, announcing his intention to retire and having hip resurfacing surgery in the intervening months.

However, after a successful operation, Murray has been able to return to action, first on the doubles circuit before making his singles comeback in Cincinnati in August.

Not until Tuesday had Murray tasted victory though - and he ranked the gruelling 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 triumph highly, despite his many achievements on court.

"I think that, in some ways, it's one of the best wins I've had," he said. "Not in terms of just getting through that today, but everything that's gone into getting back to this point.

"You don't necessarily appreciate what it's like to be healthy at the beginning of your career. It's something that you take for granted and it's quite easy, whereas these past few years haven't been.

"Obviously, after the operation in January, it's been difficult and it was undecided at times about whether I wanted to keep going or not, and it's been tough.

"But I'm really glad that I can actually get the win today and hopefully I'll be able to keep going."

Murray was also able to provide a positive update on his fitness following the match, adding: "If I played that match in January, there's no chance I could compete the following day or even two days later. I would be in a lot of pain and discomfort.

"Now, I'm tired and fatigued and muscles and stuff are tired from playing the match. But in terms of how my hip feels, that feels really good.

"So that's very positive and I'm satisfied with that because, in January, I couldn't remember what it was like to play tennis and not have the pain in my hip."

Murray will face seventh seed Alex de Minaur next for a place in the quarter-finals.

Andy Murray made a successful return to the ATP Tour as he battled past Tennys Sandgren 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 in a gruelling contest at the Zhuhai Open.

Murray lost to Sandgren at the Winston-Salem Open in August, before he elected to drop down to Challenger level and compete at the Rafael Nadal Open.

But the former world number one made a strong comeback to the highest tier as he overcame the American in a two-hour 41-minute tussle.

An exquisite lob handed Murray a double break in set three, finally puncturing Sandgren's resistance as the Scot marched on to secure his first ATP singles win since he beat James Duckworth in January.

Murray had squandered a match point in the set two tie-break - Sandgren taking full advantage to restore parity.

Having not seen a single chance of a break throughout set two, Murray took the upper hand when he broke the world number 69 at the first attempt in the final set.

A superb lob shot and a tame Sandgren effort into the net put Murray 4-0 up and the three-time grand slam winner served out a hard-earned triumph.

Murray will now face Alex de Minaur, who beat fellow Australian John Millman, while Pablo Andujar set up a second-round meeting with second seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Qualifier Damir Dzumhur ended a four-match losing streak against Marco Cecchinato, with Zhizhen Zhang defeating Dominik Koepfer to tee up a potential encounter with Nick Kyrgios.

Miomir Kecmanovic progressed past Casper Ruud, who retired hurt, in Tuesday's other encounter. 

At the Chengdu Open, Fernando Verdasco eased into round two with a straight sets win over Alexei Popyrin, while top seed John Isner will play Egor Gerasimov.

Dusan Lajovic, meanwhile, will come up against Lloyd Harris, with the duo winning their respective encounters with Juan Ignacio Londero and Marton Fucsovics.

Andy Murray says it would be "a bit naive and silly" to think he can recapture the form that took him to world number one and three grand slam titles.

The 32-year-old Scot is fighting his way back after undergoing career-saving hip surgery, and he plays four tournaments in the next four weeks as he steps up his comeback.

Murray looked finished, or as good as, at the start of the year when he said Wimbledon would be his final event before retiring.

He had a change of heart after a successful operation and is determined to make a fist of a new lease of life, after saying he is now pain-free for the first time in years.

But results have been shaky in his tentative return to singles action, with Murray losing a pair of first-round matches in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem before stepping back to play on the lower-tier ATP Challenger Tour and finally rediscovering a winning touch.

He won a pair of matches at the low-profile Rafa Nadal Open in Mallorca, but Murray wants to compete at the top level, even if he is not winning tournaments consistently.

"I'm not expecting to get back to my very best," he said, according to BBC Sport. "I think it would be probably a bit naive and silly to think that would be the case.

"I do feel like tennis-wise I can still compete at the highest level in terms of my skill, it's just whether physically I can get to a high enough level to be competitive right at the top."

Murray will have a better idea of his future prospects in a month's time, and he begins his busy schedule by playing the Zhuhai Championships in China, facing American Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

World number 69 Sandgren beat Murray in Winston-Salem, so it will be a chance to avenge that loss and show whether the former Wimbledon and US Open champion - a long-time member of the 'big four' in men's tennis - is making progress.

Murray said, on the ATP website: "I don't know how far I'm going to be able to get now on my comeback. I don't know how much improving I still have to do or if I'm going to be able to. But I'm in no pain just now, so I might as well give it a shot and see how far I will go with the recovery."

He plays events in Beijing, Shanghai and Antwerp after the Zhuhai tournament, and Murray is targeting a run of match wins to show he can become a force again.

"I'd like to try to get 12 to 15 matches between now and the end of the year so my body gets used to competing and playing matches consistently again," he said.

"I hadn't done that for two years. It's been a really long time, so it takes time for your body to build up."

Former world number one Andy Murray said he would love to play Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer before they retire, but only if he is capable of beating the 'Big Three'.

Murray looked set to retire following January's Australian Open, however, the three-time grand slam champion is on the comeback trail after hip resurfacing surgery.

The 32-year-old – who dropped down to ATP Challenger level to take part in the Rafael Nadal Open having skipped the US Open – is set to feature at the Shanghai Masters after accepting a wildcard.

Murray will spend a couple of weeks in the Far East, competing in the Zhuhai Championships and China Open as he eyes next year's Australian Open following a brief ATP Tour singles return in August.

Asked about renewing his battle with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, Murray – who has played doubles this year to build his fitness – said: "I look forward to doing it if, physically, I am capable of competing with them.

"I don't look forward to going on the court against one of those guys and not feeling like I have a chance of winning which, if I played them tomorrow, that's how I would feel.

"When I practised with Novak in Australia at the beginning of this year, I found that hard, even though it was just practice. I felt terrible and I found that quite hard.

"If I'm able to compete against them and feel like I can win, even if it's a really small chance, then I will enjoy that, for sure. But, not feeling like I can be competitive and getting pumped, I probably wouldn't enjoy that."

Murray – now ranked 415 in the world – added: "I need matches just now. My body needs to build up some level of robustness. That's the reason for entering the [four straight] tournaments.

"And if I'm not getting matches [because of early defeats in each event] I'm at least around, practising with top players, getting my body more used to the speed and things."

Andy Murray has taken a wildcard for the Shanghai Masters as the former world number one continues his comeback from hip surgery.

After working his way back to fitness by playing doubles, Murray made a short-lived return to ATP singles action in August, losing to Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati before Tennys Sandgren defeated him at the Winston-Salem Open.

Murray skipped the US Open, dropping to Challenger level and taking part in the Rafa Nadal Open in Mallorca, recording two victories before going out in round three.

Having already confirmed he would take part in the Zhuhai Championships and the China Open in September, Murray will now play in the Far East for three weeks, with the Shanghai Masters beginning on October 6.

Murray - a three-time grand slam champion - initially looked set to retire after the Australian Open in January, though surgery has resolved a long-standing hip issue.

The 32-year-old is currently at 415 in the ATP world rankings.

Andy Murray will have to endure a long process to get back to a level he is happy with as he continues his return from hip surgery, according to his brother Jamie.

Murray was expected to retire from tennis after an emotional media conference at the Australian Open as he revealed the full extent of his injury struggles, with most anticipating a thrilling five-set first-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut to mark his farewell.

However, the three-time grand slam champion and former world number one underwent a hip resurfacing operation in the hope of extending his career and returned at Queen's Club in June, winning the doubles alongside Feliciano Lopez.

He played in the men's doubles and alongside Serena Williams in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon before partnering with Jamie at the Citi Open in Washington. Murray then made his singles comeback at the Cincinnati Masters, losing 6-4 6-4 to Richard Gasquet before being beaten by Tennys Sandgren in three sets at the Winston-Salem Open.

After two victories at a challenger event in Mallorca, Murray conceded to being fatigued following a three-set defeat to world number 240 Matteo Viola.

The 32-year-old opted to skip the US Open in order to play on the Balearic Island and work on his singles game in three-set matches, with Murray poised to feature in a number of tournaments on the forthcoming Asia swing.

Elder brother Jamie, who progressed to the semi-finals of the men's doubles with Neal Skupski and the final of the mixed alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday, believes it is important not to expect too much too soon from the two-time Wimbledon winner.

Speaking to reporters in New York, he said: "[It's] great that he's back on court competing. We had a lot of fun in Washington playing, that was really cool.

"For me to see him out there competing and playing well and enjoying it was really cool those few weeks that he was playing doubles. 

"To see him back playing in Cincinnati was really nice, although maybe he didn't perform the way he wanted to. It's going to be a long process for him to get back to the level that he's happy with.

"You saw with other guys, it took a while. [Stan] Wawrinka he's only now just being back at the level he's used to playing, it took him a long time after his arm injury.

"I think his goal is just to try to play as many matches as he can until the end of the year and try to get a good feeling and find his rhythm and confidence and I guess also find out what his movement level is going to be and then give himself hopefully the best chance to do a good pre-season and be ready for next year."

Andy Murray said he was suffering from cramp and fatigue following his last-16 loss to world number 240 Matteo Viola at the Rafa Nadal Open.

Former world number one and three-time grand slam champion Murray struggled physically as he went down 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) at the ATP Challenger event in Mallorca on Thursday.

Murray dropped down to the Challenger Tour for the first time since 2005 in a bid to improve his fitness following hip resurfacing surgery in January, which threatened to end his stellar career.

After blitzing teenager Imran Sibille and overcoming third seed Norbert Gombos, the 32-year-old Murray succumbed to Viola in a third-set tie-break.

"I'm cramping. Very tired," said Murray, who required a medical timeout midway through the third set, after almost three hours on court.

"I would have liked to have played more matches but it was good. I played two competitive matches. Physically I need to get better."

Murray is featuring on the Challenger Tour for the first time in 14 years.

The Brit started a singles comeback at ATP Masters 1000 tournament the Western & Southern Open before making a swift exit from the Winston-Salem Open.

Murray – who played a series of high-profile doubles tournaments after teaming up with Serena Williams in the mixed event at Wimbledon – then opted to skip the US Open in New York.

Rafael Nadal revealed he had offered his boat to Andy Murray while the Brit plays at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Mallorca.

Murray's singles comeback is gathering pace and he moved into the last 16 at the Rafa Nadal Open on Tuesday.

Nadal, meanwhile, eased past John Millman to improve to 15-0 in first-round matches at the US Open.

The Spaniard said he had been in touch with Murray to offer any help, and the use of his boat, while he plays in Mallorca.

"I think he used it already in the past, no? I just text him when I knew that he was going to play at the academy," Nadal told a news conference.

"I just text him a couple of days ago saying, 'if you need anything, just let me know. You want to go out with the boat or anything, I can help you, just let me know'.

"For us in the academy, it is great news that he's there, of course. I saw the court yesterday where he was playing, it was full crowded. I think it's great for him, great for us.

"For me personally, as I said a couple of times, happy for him. Honestly he did a lot of things to try to be back on court and keep playing tennis.

"The decision to go and play a Challenger is because he feels well, my feeling, the way that I see it. If you don't feel it very well, you play normal tour and just let's see how it goes.

"If one player like Andy is able to go and play a Challenger it's because physically he feels well and he wants to play matches."

Nadal crushed Millman 6-3 6-2 6-2 in the US Open first round on a day that saw multiple upsets in his half of the draw.

Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov and Roberto Bautista Agut all made first-round exits.

"That's tennis. That's all the reaction I can say, no?" said Nadal, who will face Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round.

"When you start the tournament, you have difficult opponents in front. You need to go on court and respect every single opponent.

"I went on court today against a tough opponent knowing that I need to play well to win. If you play bad, you can lose.

"Tsitsipas had a very tough first round. Of course, Karen is a surprise. I think Thiem have been very sick for the last 10 days. I feel very sorry for him.

"Roberto was a surprise. Honestly, I'm very sad for him."

Andy Murray said he was happy with his performance after defeating third seed Norbert Gombos at the Rafa Nadal Open as the three-time grand slam champion's singles comeback continued.

Murray advanced to the round of 16 in Mallorca, where the former world number one overcame Gombos 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Murray dropped down to the ATP Challenger Tour for the first time since 2005 in a bid to improve his fitness following hip resurfacing surgery in January, which threatened to end his stellar career.

After blitzing teenager Imran Sibille in his opener, Murray upstaged Gombos – who leads the Challenger circuit for match wins with a 36-16 record.

"I think I did well, it was a tough match," said Murray. "He hits his shots very hard, so I had to do quite a lot of moving and defending.

"There are things I'd like to do better, but it was a good match.

"I don't play tomorrow [Wednesday], so that's nice to get a day to rest and recover. That's important at this stage of my comeback."

Murray, who will face world number 240 Matteo Viola for a place in the quarter-finals, is featuring on the Challenger Tour for the first time in 14 years.

The Brit started a singles comeback at ATP Masters 1000 tournament the Western & Southern Open before making a swift exit from the Winston-Salem Open.

Murray – who played a series of high-profile doubles tournaments after teaming up with Serena Williams in the mixed event at Wimbledon – then opted to skip the US Open in New York.

Andy Murray continued his singles comeback via the ATP Challenger Tour with a straight-sets win over Norbert Gombos at the Rafa Nadal Open.

Former world number one Murray reached the last 16 of the event thanks to Tuesday's 6-3 6-4 victory against third seed Gombos in Mallorca.

Murray dropped down to the Challenger Tour for the first time since 2005 in a bid to improve his fitness following hip resurfacing surgery in January, which threatened to end his stellar career.

The three-time grand slam champion started a singles comeback at ATP Masters 1000 tournament the Western & Southern Open before making a swift exit from the Winston-Salem Open.

Murray – who played a series of high-profile doubles tournaments after teaming up with Serena Williams in the mixed event at Wimbledon – then opted to skip the US Open in New York.

The 32-year-old turned to the Challenger Tour for the first time in 14 years, and after blitzing teenager Imran Sibille in his tournament opener, Murray saw off Gombos.

Gombos provided a much sterner test for Murray, who needed almost two hours to beat the Slovakian world number 115.

Murray will next face world number 240 Matteo Viola for a place in the quarter-finals.

Andy Murray's return to the ATP Challenger Tour lasted just 43 minutes and 13 games as he thrashed teenager Imran Sibille at the Rafa Nadal Open.

A 6-0 6-1 success on Monday handed Murray his first singles win since returning from injury.

The former world number one has been building his fitness following hip resurfacing surgery in January that he believed would end his outstanding career.

The Briton recovered to play a series of high-profile doubles tournaments - including alongside Serena Williams in the mixed event at Wimbledon - before trying his hand back on the singles court.

But Murray, ranked 328th, has found it tough back on the regular ATP Tour circuit, losing in straight sets to both Richard Gasquet and Tennys Sandgren.

The 32-year-old therefore made the decision to return to the Challenger Tour for the first time in 14 years, featuring at the Rafa Nadal Open while his peers - including Rafael Nadal - play the US Open.

If Murray is to rediscover his best form, he will hope for sterner tests than that he faced from Sibille, though, who was dismantled with ease.

Just three points went the 17-year-old's way in the opener, with Murray only denied a double-bagel victory in the Frenchman's final service game of the second.

His next task in Mallorca is against Norbert Gombos, the third seed, on Tuesday.

Andy Murray will play on the ATP Challenger Tour for the first time in almost 14 years after accepting an invitation to next week's Rafa Nadal Open.

Former world number one Murray will travel to Mallorca and appear on the second-tier circuit for the first time since reaching the quarter-finals at Mons in October 2005.

The three-time grand slam champion underwent surgery to overcome a career-threatening hip injury and made his return after five months out in the doubles at the Queen's Club Championships in June, lifting the title alongside Feliciano Lopez.

Murray made his singles comeback at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last week, losing to Richard Gasquet in straight sets.

The Briton, who has signed up to main-tour events in Zhuhai and Beijing in September and Antwerp in October, has slipped to 329th in the world rankings and rejected a wildcard to the US Open.

Following a first-round loss to Tennys Sandgren at the Winston-Salem Open this week, Murray explained he was considering dropping down to the Challenger Tour in a bid to improve his singles level.

"Some things were a bit better [against Sandgren], I think," he said. "I was hitting the ball a bit cleaner than I did maybe in Cincinnati.

"I feel like I moved fairly well to some drop shots, which maybe last week I wasn't running to. So there's some good things in there but also some stuff I would like to do better.

"I'm physically okay considering, no pain, no discomfort. Just a little bit more tired than usual.

"I'm quite aware of sort of where I'm at just now and what my level is. It's competitive at this level but it needs to be better.

"Maybe I need to play a level down to get some matches and build my game up a little bit before I start playing on the (main) tour again."

Lee Duck-hee was determined to show those who "made fun of" his hearing disability as he became the first deaf player to win on the ATP Tour at the Winston-Salem Open.

The South Korean defeated Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 to make history with a breakthrough main-draw victory.

For Lee, it was proof that he could succeed despite the challenges he faces and he hopes it will provide inspiration to others.

"People made fun of me for my disability. They told me I shouldn't be playing," he said after the win.

"It was definitely difficult, but my friends and family helped me get through. I wanted to show everyone that I could do this.

"My message for people who are hearing impaired is to not be discouraged. If you try hard, you can do anything."

Lee's achievement had others on the Tour marvelling, including Andy Murray, who acknowledged the difficulty of playing without hearing.

"If I was to play with headphones on, it's unbelievably difficult to pick up the speed of the ball, the spin that's coming off the racquet," Murray said.

"We use our ears a lot to pick things up. It's obviously a huge disadvantage, so to be able to do what he's doing is a huge effort."

Tennys Sandgren, who beat Murray on Monday, added: "You learn so much about how your opponent hits the ball based on the sound of the shot.

"If you can't hear it, you have to have insane skill and insane talent."

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