Murray battles past Sandgren to progress at Zhuhai Open

Andy Murray defeated Tennys Sandgren in three sets on his return to singles action on the ATP Tour at the Zhuhai Open in China.

Andy Murray battled past Tennys Sandgren to advance to the second round at the Zhuhai Open.   -  Getty Images

Andy Murray made a successful return to the ATP Tour as he battled past Tennys Sandgren 6-3, 6-7 (8), 6-1 in a gruelling contest at the Zhuhai Open.

Murray lost to Sandgren at the Winston-Salem Open in August, before he elected to drop down to Challenger level and compete at the Rafael Nadal Open. But the former world number one made a strong comeback to the highest tier as he overcame the American in a two-hour 41-minute tussle.

An exquisite lob handed Murray a double break in the third set, finally puncturing Sandgren's resistance as the Scot marched on to secure his first ATP singles win since he beat James Duckworth in January.

Murray had squandered a match point in the second set tie-break and Sandgren took full advantage to restore parity.

Having not had a single chance of a break throughout the second set, Murray took the upper hand when he broke the world number 69 at the first attempt in the final set. A superb lob shot and a tame Sandgren effort into the net put Murray 4-0 up and the three-time Grand Slam champ served out a hard-earned triumph.

Murray will now face Alex de Minaur, who beat fellow Australian John Millman, while Pablo Andujar set up a second-round meeting with second seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Qualifier Damir Dzumhur ended a four-match losing streak against Marco Cecchinato, with Zhizhen Zhang defeating Dominik Koepfer to tee up a potential encounter with Nick Kyrgios.

Miomir Kecmanovic progressed past Casper Ruud, who retired hurt, in Tuesday's other encounter. 

At the Chengdu Open, Fernando Verdasco eased into round two with a straight sets win over Alexei Popyrin, while top seed John Isner will play Egor Gerasimov.

Dusan Lajovic, meanwhile, will come up against Lloyd Harris, with the duo winning their respective encounters with Juan Ignacio Londero and Marton Fucsovics.