Beijing: Andy Murray continued his positive return to singles play after hip surgery with a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (7) win over 13th-ranked Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the first round of the China Open on Tuesday.
The former top-ranked Murray, who had a hip resurfacing operation in January, fired eight aces and saved five of seven break points to pick up his second tour-level singles win since returning in August.
Murray defeated Tennys Sangren in the opening round of the Zhuhai Championships last week, before losing to eventual champion Alex de Minaur in the second round.
“Last week was a big step for me. Now I just need to try and get the matches, get them consistently, so that I’m used to playing three, four matches in a week,” Murray said.
He will next play British compatriot Cameron Norrie, who beat Chile’s Cristian Garin on Monday.
Also in Beijing, top-seeded Dominic Thiem defeated Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-1 to reach the second round, while American John Isner upset seventh-seeded Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3.
In the women’s tournament, top-ranked Ash Barty advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Yulia Putintseva. The top-seeded Australian, who has been nursing a calf injury, received a first-round bye after reaching the Wuhan semi-finals last week.
The Roland Garros champion hit 23 winners and seven aces in her first career victory in Beijing.
“I think there were times where it was pretty good and there were times where it was challenging,” Barty said. “Overall pretty happy with how it went today, how we were able to get on a roll in the second set a little bit there.”
Naomi Osaka of Japan extended her win streak to six as she eased past Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-0 in just 59 minutes.
In her first match since winning the Pan Pacific Open in Osaka two weeks ago, the fourth-seeded Osaka won 91 per cent of first-serve points while saving the only break point she faced.
Also on Tuesday, seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-4 while No. 16-seeded Caroline Wozniacki had a 6-4, 6-0 straight-set victory over Christina McHale.