China Open 2019: Andy Murray beats Cameron Norrie in three sets to advance to quarterfinals; Bianca Andreescu beats Elise Mertens to reach last 16
The hard-fought triumph over 69th-ranked Norrie means Murray reaches the last eight in singles on the ATP Tour for the first time since Shenzhen in September last year
The former World No 1 outlasted fellow Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 6-1 over nearly three gruelling hours
Also into the quarter-finals was Russian fourth seed Karen Khachanov, a 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/5) winner over France's Jeremy Chardy
In the women's draw, the 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys was a surprise loser to unseeded fellow American Jennifer Brady
Beijing: Andy Murray won two ATP Tour singles matches in a row for the first time since a major hip surgery to battle into the China Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The former World No 1 outlasted fellow Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 6-1 over nearly three gruelling hours and will play top seed Dominic Thiem or Chinese wildcard Zhang Zhizhen next.
The 32-year-old Murray, now ranked a lowly 503, is stepping up his comeback from a career-saving operation in January — and was at his vintage fighting best here.
On Tuesday, in hot and hazy Beijing, he defeated US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini for his biggest scalp since his return to singles tennis in mid-August.
The three-time Grand Slam winner says he no longer has pain in his hip and it is a matter now of building up fitness so he can play several matches in a row at tournaments.
Murray showed several flashes of irritation as the first set against 69th-ranked Norrie went to the tie break, grumbling in the direction of his coaching team courtside.
But he regained his composure and captured the set thanks to an untimely double fault by his compatriot.
The 24-year-old Norrie broke Murray's serve in the sixth game of the second set and Murray was struggling, bending over between points with his hands on his knees to catch his breath.
He shook his head as he slumped red-faced in his seat at 5-2 down and looked all in. He displayed the battling qualities which took him to number one in 2016 to somehow surge back, only to lose the second set on the tie break.
But he somehow wrested back the initiative in the decider, breaking Norrie's first service game on the way to a trademark gritty victory.
The three-time Grand Slam champion said he had slept in the 90 minutes between his victory and talking to reporters.
"I'm tired, I just had a sleep before coming. I mean, I'm really tired," he said.
To save his creaking body from more punishment, Murray said that he switched tactics in the deciding third set.
"I decided if I want to win I have to go and take risks and come to the net, try and finish the points quicker, which I did," he said.
The hard-fought triumph over 69th-ranked Norrie means he reaches the last eight in singles on the ATP Tour for the first time since Shenzhen in September last year.
Also into the quarter-finals was Russian fourth seed Karen Khachanov, a 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/5) winner over France's Jeremy Chardy.
In the women's draw, the 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys was a surprise loser to unseeded fellow American Jennifer Brady. Teenage US Open champion Bianca Andreescu reached the last 16 with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) victory over Belgium's unseeded Elise Mertens.
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Murray, 33, has not competed since playing in the Davis Cup in November due to complications with his hip but is set to return on Tuesday at a behind-closed-doors tournament in London