Andy Murray plots ‘a bit of a run’ as he prepares for Shenzhen Open

Andy Murray reports that he is 'kind of improving each week'. Picture: Getty.
Andy Murray reports that he is 'kind of improving each week'. Picture: Getty.
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Andy Murray is due to play in his penultimate tournament of 2018 at the Shenzhen Open today. The 31-year-old former world No 1, now ranked 311 after a lengthy injury spell, is scheduled to face Zhizhen Zhang of China, world No 340.

Both players are wild cards for the tournament in southern China and the winner will play top seed David Goffin of Belgium.

There was a British player in action in southern China yesterday, Cameron Norrie progressing in straight sets ahead of wildcard Di Wu of China.

Murray used Facebook on Saturday to reveal the China Open in Beijing would be his final tournament of the year, with his first appearance in Shenzhen since 2014 the prelude to that.

The Scot says he needs a lengthy break to try to find peak condition for 2019.

Murray, pictured right, who has won five and lost four matches in 2018, said on the ATP website: “I’m not quite back to where I’d like to be yet, but kind of improving each week. Hopefully, I can play some good tennis and get on a bit of a run.”

Norrie, the British No 2 and ranked 73rd in the world, won 6-2, 6-2 in one hour ten minutes against Di.

The 23-year-old is next due 
to face Croatia’s world No 18 Borna Coric, who received a first-round bye.

Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Johanna Konta
as the British No 1 was beaten
in straight sets in the first round of the Wuhan Open. Konta lost 7-5, 6-4 to Australia’s Ashley Barty, the 16th seed, in one hour 40 minutes.

Konta also lost to world No 17 Barty in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham in June. Since then, Konta has won only eight of her 18 matches, including early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open.

“We have played a few times and it is always close, but I am happy to come through in straight sets today,” said 16th seed Barty.