Two days after scoring the first ATP victory since January, former world no. 1 Andy Murray played another very solid match in Zhuhai against the 7th seed Alex de Minaur, losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 after two hours and 42 minutes. Andy gave a walkover to the young Aussie in Washington last year and was ready to challenge him today, taking the opening set and falling behind only in the closing stages of the second to stay without the quarter-final.
Murray hit ten aces and gave his best in service games despite landing only 53% of the first serve in, facing eight break points and suffering four breaks to propel de Minaur through. The Aussie fended off seven out of nine break chances and had the upper hand in set number two before earning that lone break in the decider that kept him on the title course.
The first set lasted for more than an hour and it started with three break opportunities for Murray in game two, squandering them all and wasting numerous game points in the next game to suffer a break and sent Alex in front after a backhand error.
They needed almost 30 minutes to complete the first three games and the battle was on when Murray broke back in the sixth game when de Minaur sent a backhand long, moving 4-3 in front with an ace and landing another unreturned serve for a 5-4 advantage, sending the pressure back to his opponent.
Serving in the tenth game, Alex sprayed another backhand error to lose serve and hand the opener to Andy after grueling 64 minutes, making a fresh start in set number two and breaking the Briton in the first game to move in front.
De Minaur held at love in game six, stole Andy's serve at love with a forehand winner and sealed the set with another hold without losing a point, rattling off 12 straight points to close the set in style and become the favorite ahead of the decider.
They stayed neck and neck in the first eight games of the final set before Murray netted a backhand to suffer a break at love that sent the Aussie 5-4 up, with Alex saving three break chances in the tenth game to seal the deal after a service winner and advance into the last eight. Andy will now travel to Beijing, hoping for another good run on a comeback trail and some wins with a favorable draw.