Madrid: Andy Murray continued his winning run far from the US Open spotlight when he beat Norbert Gombos of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4 at the second-tier Challenger Event in Mallorca.
Instead of playing in New York, where he won the men's singles in 2012, Murray is rebuilding his singles form by playing on the Challenger Tour for the first time in 14 years in an event which bears the name of a man who is playing in New York, Rafael Nadal.
Against the 115th ranked Gombos, Murray, ranked 328, broke in the fourth game, immediately gave that advantage back but regained it in the sixth game before winning the first set without any more scares.
The second set followed a similar pattern.
Murray broke to lead 2-1. Gombos broke back for 4-4 only to provoke a rapid response as Murray again broke back at once. The Scot then served out to love to win in 1hr 43min.
The victory was the second in two days for double Olympic champion Murray.
On Monday, he swept past French 17-year-old Imran Sibille 6-0, 6-1 who was making his professional debut.
After undergoing hip surgery in January following his first-round exit from the Australian Open, former world number one Murray began easing his way back by playing doubles, starting with a title at Queen's in June.
The 32-year-old returned to singles this month and was beaten in straight sets by Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati.
He then lost to American Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open.
His back-to-back morale-boosting victories in Mallorca came at the tennis academy run by Nadal.
In New York, Nadal revealed he had offered to provide Murray with his boat in Mallorca. "I'm very happy to have Andy Murray playing there," Nadal said. "It's great news for us, of course, but for him and for the world of sport that's great news and I wish him the very best."
"I just text him a couple 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.'"
"Best of luck, and more than playing in my home it is great news that he is back on the tennis court playing singles after a lot of struggles in recent years. I am happy for him, it is very special," Nadal said.
"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 is because physically he feels well and he wants to play matches."
Updated Date: Aug 28, 2019 09:00:07 IST