Andy Murray produced the most impressive win of his comeback from a hip problem by defeating David Goffin 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen Open.
Goffin entered the tournament as the No 1 seed and reigning champion but the Belgian, ranked 11th in the world, was dispatched in straight sets at an event Murray won four years ago.
It is the penultimate competition of the year for Murray, who has decided to play in the Shenzhen and China Opens before ending his season in order to work on improving the hip issue that has troubled his recent career.
There was little sign of discomfort as the world No 311 easily took the first set before surviving a late wobble in the second to close out a victory against a player to whom he had never lost to in five previous meetings.
Murray gained an early foothold in the opening set when he broke Goffin in the fourth game and to underline his impressive form he took the next game easily.
Four aces strengthened Murray’s challenge, but his poise deserted him in the seventh when Goffin broke back by dispatching the second serve at the crucial moment.
But regaining composure, the 31-year-old Scot immediately broke back before sealing the set at the second time of asking with another ace.
The one-way traffic continued into the second set as Murray raced 2-0 ahead, continuing to do considerable damage with his first serve.
Leading 5-1, however, he suffered a collapse that saw Goffin pull back to 5-4 and having saved three break points in the tenth, he served out for victory.
“I felt like in terms of the way I hit the ball, it was the best I’ve played, and I think I knew that I was going to have to hit the ball very well if I wanted to win,” Murray told atpworldtour.com
“I love the conditions that we play in. Usually it’s quite humid, and the courts are a little bit faster than what we usually play on the tour.
“The conditions that I like are fast courts with slow balls, and with the humidity, that slows the ball down a little bit. I feel like I’m able to control the ball very well here.”
Murray added: “I know David’s been struggling a little bit with his serve, with his shoulder the last month, month and a half. So I was able to get a lot of returns back in play, put a lot of pressure on his service games. I served pretty well myself.”
Meanwhile, Jim Courier yesterday announced that he is stepping down as US Davis Cup captain after eight years.
His decision came less than two weeks after the Americans lost 3-2 to hosts Croatia in the semi-finals of this year’s event.
The United States have a 10-8 win/loss record in World Group play since Courier was appointed in October 2010.
They twice reached the semi-finals but haven’t won the trophy since 2007.
Courier was part of Davis Cup-winning teams as a player in 1992 and 1995. He also won four Grand Slam singles titles and reached No 1 in the world rankings.