(Reuters) – Andy Murray produced the most solid performances in his comeback from hip surgery, dismissing eighth seed Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-3 on Thursday to storm into the quarter-finals of the European Open in Antwerp.
The former world number one, who is easing his way back to full match fitness after a career-saving resurfacing procedure in January, saved all four break points he faced and dropped only six points on his first serve.
After a scrappy victory over local hope Kimmer Coppejans in the opening round, Murray showed signs that he is returning to his aggressive best against Uruguay’s Cuevas.
The three-times Grand Slam winner covered all corners of the court with ease and looked dangerous when he approached the net before sealing his seventh ATP Tour singles win of the season with his 12th ace.
Murray next takes on big-serving Romanian qualifier Marius Copil, who fired 13 aces in a stunning 6-4 5-7 7-6(7) win over third seed Diego Schwartzman.
Italian teenager Jannik Sinner completed the biggest win of his career by beating top seed and world number 13 Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2 to reach his first ATP Tour quarter-finals.
The 18-year-old wildcard, ranked 119 in the world, set up a first career meeting with American Frances Tiafoe who defeated seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4.
Sinner, whose five ATP Tour wins have all come this year, is making a late attempt to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan next month and began the week in 13th place in the race.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)