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Murray wins battle of Britons to set up Thiem clash in Beijing

Murray wins battle of Britons to set up Thiem clash in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Aug 12, 2019; Mason, OH, USA; Andy Murray (GBR) serves against Richard Gasquet (FRA) during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports -
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(Reuters) – Andy Murray extended his winning run in Beijing by beating fellow Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6(6) 6-7(4) 6-1 on Wednesday to seal a spot in the China Open quarter-finals where he will face top seed Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Murray, who won his first ATP tour singles encounter in nine months at Zhuhai last week, was made to fight for two hours and 52 minutes and won consecutive tour matches for the first time since his hip resurfacing surgery in January.

The Scot beat eighth-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini 7-6(2) 7-6(7) in the first round on Tuesday and now meets world number five Thiem who beat Chinese wildcard Zhizhen Zhang 6-3 6-3.

“I’m really tired, I just had a sleep before coming,” Murray said. “That’s the first time I’ve had to do that 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… and be competitive and play some good tennis… I’m happy I’ve got the day off tomorrow to recover.”

Norrie served poorly compared to the former world number one but 32-year-old Murray only managed to convert four of 13 break points in the match.

Serving for the opening set at 5-3, Murray was broken by Norrie, who then saved three set points in the ensuing tiebreak before he double faulted on the Scot’s fourth set point.

Norrie turned the tables in the second and, although Murray saved a set point on serve, the 24-year-old ranked 69 in the world then held his nerve in the tiebreak.

Murray then switched tactics, coming up to the net more often to dictate rallies and shorten points, and won the first five games in a row to set up a meeting with Thiem.

The Austrian fired five aces, won 84% of his first service points and needed only three breaks to beat Zhang in 69 minutes.

Italy’s Fabio Fognini beat Russian Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with fourth seed Karen Khachanov, who dispatched Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6(0) 7-6(5).

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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