By Ros Satar

  • Andy Murray [PR] def. Matteo Berrettini [8] 7-6(2), 7-6(7)
  • Andy Murray [PR] v Cameron Norrie | First Meeting
  • Former British No. 1 starting to climb steadily up the rankings
BEIJING, CHINA – Andy Murray is pitching himself back up the rankings as next up is the British No. 3 Cameron Norrie.

 

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Andy Murray [PR] def. Matteo Berrettini [8] 7-6(2), 7-6(7)

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Andy Murray took another large leap up the rankings with a win over the No. 8 seed Matteo Berrettini in his Beijing opener. Playing the Italian whose US Open run to the semi-final has put him in contention to make the Nitto ATP Finals London line-up, we saw glimpses of Murray’s tips and tricks, and (perhaps more encouragingly) his ability to sprint forwards to try and reach the demon drop-shots coming at him from Berrettini.

The start could not have been any more competitive, with the first four games being held to love, before a slightly looser game from Murray saw Berrettini grab the first break. The Brit continued to press, not converting on one chance, before breaking back to bring things square at 5-5. As the pair went to a tie-break, Murray started the more confidently, breaking first and keeping Berrettini at bay comfortably to seal the first set.

The Italian started the brighter with an early break but found himself pegged back straight away by Murray. Berrettini had chances to take the advantage forcing Murray to fend off four break points before the set went to a tie-break once more. This was a lot less comfortable for the Brit, who found himself having to save two set points before the momentum swung back his way, converting on his first match-point.

Talking to ATPTour.com, Murray, who earned his biggest win in terms of rankings since his comeback, said: “Last week was a really big step for me in terms of how I felt and how I played in the matches. Although I lost in the second round, I felt like I was playing tour-level tennis. I was competitive. I was in the match, even the one that I lost. Whereas I didn’t feel that in the States. I didn’t feel I was in the matches or playing great tennis.

“In terms of the way that I’m moving now, in comparison to a couple of months ago, just my level of confidence in that is much, much higher than what it was a few months ago. 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.

“Right now, at this level, I don’t know if I’m ready to do that or not. So, the more I can get through these sorts of matches like I did today, I’ll get there a little bit quicker.”

 

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Andy Murray [PR] v Cameron Norrie | First Meeting

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It will be a first time match up against the current British No. 3 Cameron Norrie who seems to be finishing the year with quite the energetic spurt. It was a heart-breaking exit for Norrie in the US Open, but since embarking on the post-Slam run, his levels of play have been pretty impressive. With Kyle Edmund faltering, and Dan Evans looking as though he will certainly snap up the British No. 1 spot by the end of the year, Norrie could well pick up speed towards the end of the year as well.

However, he will need to get past Murray who has certainly overcome the rust of his initial match against Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati. What Norrie does is a little bit of everything well. Good functional serve, solid ground-strokes and court smarts and he has particularly impressed in his staying power against players who can thump the ball forever. His match in particular against Gael Monfils last week would almost suggest he has worked a lot on his stamina, and it shows.

Murray at his peak would test that to the extreme, but we saw in Zhuhai that against Alex De Minaur he was effectively ‘out-Murrayed’ so it will be key for Norrie to make this as physical a match as he can.

However, in terms of experience and variety, Norrie still could learn a lot coming up against Murray, and while he can make it a grind for the former World No. 1, he might still come up short.

Prediction: Murray in three sets.

 

Murray and Norrie are scheduled on Diamond Court at 12:30pm (5:30am BST).

 

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