Murray returns to China and wins 1st-round match at Zhuhai. Linette advances to Guangzhou semifinals
Returning to China for the first time in four years, Andy Murray won his first-round match at the Zhuhai Championships on Thursday, beating local wild card Mo Ye Cong 7-5, 6-3.
Murray, bidding for his fifth tour title in China and the first there since the Beijing Open in 2016, edged a tight first-set by breaking in the 12th game. The seventh-seeded Brit then overpowered his 23-year-old opponent in the second set to take the match in 1 hour and 42 minutes.
The 36-year-old Murray next plays 63rd-ranked Aslan Karatsev, who defeated Matteo Arnaldi 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Fifth-seeded Tomas Martin Etcheverry beat Australian Luke Saville 6-4, 6-4.
Other winners included Kimmer Coppejans, Cristian Garin and qualifiers Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt.
Top-seeded Karen Khachanov faces Australia's Bolt in the second round, while second-seeded Cameron Norrie plays Polmans on Friday.
At the Chengdu Open, American Marcos Giron defeated fifth-seeded Alexander Bublik 7-6 (6), 6-3, and Australian Jordan Thompson beat sixth-seeded compatriot Max Purcell 6-2, 7-6 (8).
Giron, ranked No. 64, will next play Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, who beat Tu Li 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6), while Thompson faces Dusan Lajovic. The Serbian needed three sets to overcome Belgian wild card Zizou Bergs 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
Juan Pablo Varillas eased past Chinese wild card Cui Jie 6-1, 6-3 and seventh-seeded Miomir Kecmanovic beat qualifier Benjamin Lock 6-2, 6-3.
Top-seeded players Alexander Zverev, Lorenzo Musetti, Grigor Dimitrov and Daniel Evans play their second-round matches on Friday after receiving a bye in the first round.
At the Guangzhou Open, unseeded Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan beat third-seeded Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-0 in a near 3-hour match to reach her first semifinal of a WTA 250 event since Istanbul in April 2022.
Next up for Putintseva is top-seeded Magda Linette after the Pole advanced with a 7-5, 7-6 (6) win over fifth-seeded Rebeka Masarova of Spain.
Greet Minnen defeated fourth-seeded Lucia Bronzetti of Italy 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-1. The seventh-seeded Belgian will play either Wang Xiyu or Viktoria Hruncakova, who play later Thursday, in the semifinals.
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