Andy Murray is proving to have a viable second life in tennis following right hip resurfacing surgery last January.
At the time of undergoing the operation Murray wasn’t sure if he’d ever play again, but once the result of the operation left him pain-free he decided to attempt a comeback.
On Monday, he piloted his way to another singles victory, this time a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Argentine qualifier Juan Ignacio Londero. It’s easy to see that having barely played the past couple of years now, Murray is still finding his footing. Monday’s match was encouraging as he came through a tough first set on a very speedy court.
“The court is by far the fastest conditions that I have played in since I came back,” Murray said. “You know, I really struggled with that early on.
“I was mistiming the ball. I felt quite slow on the court, and he was pretty much dictating all of the points. I managed kind of early on in the second set to start putting a bit more on my ball, going for my shots a little bit more, and, yeah, just trying to hit through the court a bit more, get him on the defensive, which I did pretty well.”
Murray will have little time to rest as he’ll be back in action late Tuesday afternoon against 10th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy. Fognini capably handled American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-2 earlier in the day.
When asked what’s the toughest part of his comeback he was quick to point out it’s the recovery time between matches.
“The last few weeks was winning some matches, having to come back and play the next day and stuff, you know, is difficult, because I really haven’t played much the last couple of years,” he said. “These last few weeks I have played more matches, it’s starting to get a little bit more used to starting to compete at this level again.”
The opening match of the day featured two players from the younger set on tour – 20-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Canada and 21-year-old Frances Tiafoe of the USA.
What was at stake in the encounter?
An opportunity to face world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the second round.
When it all played out it was the southpaw Shapovalov who earned another shot at trying to puzzle out a victory against Djokovic. The Canadian scored a 6-4, 6-2 win over Tiafoe to setup the primetime Djokovic clash.
Shapovalov’s had two previous encounters against Djokovic and won only one of six sets played. Still, he strongly believes that he has the game to pull off an upset and has nothing to lose in trying.
“I’ll go out there and give it all I have,” Shapovalov said. “It’s going to be a tough one, but I have a great game and I think I have a chance to beat him.”
Shapovalov’s Canadian compatriot Vasek Pospisil, who came through qualifying to reach the Rolex Shanghai Masters main draw, scored the big upset of the day. He got the better of 14th seed Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (2), 6-2.
In a stunning statistic, Pospisil won all 33 first serve points he played, which was even more impressive than Shapovalov winning 27 of 29 first serve points in his match.
Closing the night session Chinese wildcard Zhang Ze put up quite a battle before surrendering to Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the final match of Monday, the Spaniard breaking serve for 5-4 in the third before serving the match out.
What’s On Tap For Tuesday
The night matches on Tuesday are bound to delight Shanghai tennis fans as one of their favorite players – Roger Federer – will be in second-round action.
The second-seed knows what it takes to reign supreme at the Rolex Shanghai Masters as he’s been the champion twice in the past.
The Swiss sensation will open his campaign for a third Shanghai title by facing Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who earned passage into the second round having taken down 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4 in an early match on Monday.
On Monday, however, Roger’s day was not only dominated by tennis practice. He took time to square off against Chef Simon, the official chef of the tournament, in a sausage cooking contest.
Closing the show on Tuesday will be Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who seems to have found the magic formula of how to reach the final at every tournament he plays.
Medvedev’s been in the final of his last five tournaments, winning his second trophy in that stretch at his last tour stop in St. Petersburg. During that run, Medvedev reached his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open where he extended Rafael Nadal to five sets before surrendering.
Medvedev will take on British qualifier Cameron Norrie in this second-round meeting and having taken the last two weeks off should be in fine shape to be at the top of his game.