After two solid weeks in Zhuhai and Beijing, former world no. 1 Andy Murray made another big step on the comeback path in Shanghai, beating Juan Ignacio Londero 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 17 minutes. It was the first Masters 1000 triumph for the Briton since Rome 2017, keeping things under control after a slow start to set the second-round clash against the 10th seed Fabio Fognini.
Both players had more winners than unforced errors (a 24-21 ratio for Andy and 47-43 for Juan Ignacio) and they both had their chances on the return, with Murray fending off seven out of ten break points faced and scoring four breaks from 13 opportunities that carried him over the top and into the next round.
A former champion had the advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes while the Argentine forged a small lead in the mid-range and most extended exchanges, making a promising start but losing the edge after that to end his campaign in the first round.
Andy faced three break points in the very first game of the encounter, repelling those to avoid an early setback and wasting the opportunity to move in front when Londero erased three break points in game four, stealing Murray's serve at 15 in the next game with a volley winner to produce the advantage.
Andy hit a double fault in the seventh game to fall further behind before Londero closed the opener with an ace in game eight for a 6-2. Raising his level in set number two, Murray faced no break chances and kept the pressure on the other side of the net, creating seven break chances and converting two to control the scoreboard and set up a decider.
He broke Juan Ignacio in the second game thanks to a deep return, cementing the break with a service winner in game three and earning another break at 5-2 when Juan Ignacio sprayed a backhand error, gathering the momentum ahead of the deciding set.
There, Andy broke at love in the fourth game to open the gap, staying in front only for a couple of minutes since Juan Ignacio broke back in the next game with a return winner. After his good-old defense, Murray blasted a forehand crosscourt winner for another break in game six, roaring towards his box and moving 5-2 in front with a forehand winner that pushed him closer to the finish line.
Serving at 5-3, the Briton fended off two break points, taking four straight points to seal the deal with a service winner and set Fabio Fognini clash.