Rafa Nadal Open: Andy Murray tops Norbert Gombos to reach last 16

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Rafa Nadal Open: Andy Murray tops Norbert Gombos to reach last 16

The three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has been working hard to get back to competitive tennis since June, entering six ATP tournaments in doubles and testing his skills in singles in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem.

After the first-round losses, Andy decided to change the approach and enter the first Challenger since Mons 2005, heading to Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor where he trained a couple of years ago ahead of the Rio Olympics. Returning to the Academy as a competitor, world no.

328 took down Imran Sibille in the first round after losing one game and defeated the 3rd seed Norbert Gombos 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 43 minutes to hit the last 16 and score back-to-back wins for the first time since Shenzhen previous year.

Both players had seven break chances and the Briton played better when it mattered the most, fending off five of those and converting four breaks to seal the deal in straight sets and set the last 16 clash with Matteo Viola.

Andy could have been more aggressive but his overall level was more than fine, keeping the pressure on the opponent on the return and doing an excellent job in repelling those break points to claim the win in style. The first break of the match came when Gombos sent a forehand long in game four, with the Slovak pulling it back in the next game before Andy grabbed another break a few minutes later thanks to another loose forehand from the 3rd seed.

A service winner pushed the Briton 5-2 in front, holding at 15 in game nine for a 6-3 after another forehand mistake from Norbert. Murray saved a break point in the second game of the second set, breaking in game three when Gombos' backhand found the net and staying ahead until game eight when thew Slovak forced an error with a deep return to level the score at 4-4.

Staying focused, Andy broke again in game nine and hit three winners in the one that followed to emerge at the top and make another encouraging step on the comeback trail.