Andy Murray resumed his comeback from surgery Thursday in Rotterdam with a tough 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over promising 20-year-old Dominic Thiem.
The Austrian Thiem went toe-to-toe with the reigning Wimbledon champ who finally seized control with a break during a lengthy second game of the final set.
“Obviously it was a tough match, it was a long match, a lot of long, close games,” said the wildcard Murray. “In the second set when he was playing very well, I created a lot of opportunities. A lot of love/30, break points, 30-all, couldn’t quite get them. Hopefully coming through matches like this, I’ll start to be able to take those opportunities a little bit better. But it’s been a good start for me and to play at least three matches in three days is good for my body, as well.”
Despite the loss, Thiem made a name for himself with his array of power shots and touch game.
“I have to have a consistent game and I have to improve my fitness,” said Thiem who practices a lot with Ernests Gulbis. “To play every week at this level, to defend points – which I will have to do for the first time in the autumn – will be a new experience.”
Next for Murray is Marin Cilic who is on a seven match win streak.
Top seed and Juan Martin del Potro is also in the quarterfinals. The Argentine defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-6. He’ll now play Gulbis. The Latvian surprised Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6.
Del Potro, though, remains guarded about his wrist.
“Sometimes I get frustrate,” he said. “It’s not easy when I want to close the point and hit hard but I have to hit slices. But I have done this for the past month on the tour and I have to deal with it. If the pain goes away I will start to hit the backhand harder again.
“I know it’s not getting worse, that’s why I’m still playing. It’s normal to feel something on the wrist after 20 days without playing tennis and I’m playing here with more intensity and two matches in a row.
“My doctor is confident with my wrist,” he said, “and he is watching me on TV. He’s expecting a quick recovery… If the doctor says it’s safe to keep playing I will keep playing all the tournaments and work hard to play well with my forehand and serve.”
Tomas Berdych and Jerzy Janowicz were also winners, and their reward will be a quarterfinal collision Friday. Igor Sijsling and Philipp Kohlschreiber also advanced to meet in the last eight.
In Memphis, Lleyton Hewitt and Ivo Karlovic are in the quarters along with American hope Jack Sock who plays the 6-foot-11 Croat and defending champ and top seed Kei Nishikori.
The favorites are all still alive in Buenos Aires with David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Fabio Fognini still alive.
And on the women’s tour in Doha, after Li Na’s upset, Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska are the two top women remaining in the quarters.
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