Andy Murray sets up China Open quarter-final tie with British teammate Kyle Edmund
Andy Murray, the No1 seed, set up an all-British quarter-final against Kyle Edmund at the China Open when he saw off Andrey Kuznetsov 6-2, 6-1 in Beijing. There was also progress for Johanna Konta in the women’s singles.
Murray, the world No2 back in action after suffering a thigh injury playing for Great Britain in the Davis Cup semi-final defeat by Argentina, produced another composed display to defeat the Russian without too much cause for concern.
After losing his opening service game, Murray recovered quickly with two breaks to lead 3-1. Although Kuznetsov, the world No45, rallied again to break back, the Scot remained on the offensive and took another immediate break chance before closing out the set after 48 minutes with a fourth break.
The Scot’s momentum continued into the second set, where two breaks and a hold saw the 29-year-old move 4-1 ahead. Kuznetsov lost yet another service game to leave Murray on the brink of the last eight, which he secured with a love service game to complete his win in one hour and 17 minutes.
Earlier Edmund, the British No2, beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets. The 21-year-old, who provisionally moved into the top 50 after beating Guiilermo García-López in the first round, claimed a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory against the world No18. A tight contest was settled in game seven of the third set with Edmund, a qualifier, breaking Bautista and then holding serve to complete another impressive win.
The Davis Cup team-mates have met in competitive action just once, at Queen’s this year, when Murray came through 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Konta, the British women’s No1, is through to the third round of the China Open after beating Timea Babos in straight sets.
She achieved a 7-5, 6-2 victory over the Hungarian to boost her chances of reaching the WTA Finals in Singapore this month.
The 25-year-old, who is ranked 14th in the world, is currently ninth in the race to Singapore, with the top eight qualifying for the tournament. Konta will face Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic for a place in the quarter-finals after she came from behind to defeat Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 3-6, 7-5, 7-6.
Maria Sharapova to play at WTT Smash Hits in Las Vegas
Maria Sharapova returns to the court for the first time since her doping ban was reduced when she makes her World Team Tennis Smash Hits debut next week in Las Vegas.
WTT announced yesterday that Sharapova will play in the charity event, co-hosted by Billie Jean King and Elton John, on Monday at Caesars Palace. Proceeds go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Sharapova says she's "really excited to get back on the court for a great cause" and "looking forward to a great night of tennis."
She joins a field that includes John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, Mardy Fish, Mark Philippoussis and Liezel Huber.
Sharapova's two-year ban was reduced to 15 months on Tuesday by a sports court. She tested positive for the prohibited heart medication meldonium at the Australian Open in January.
Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova's lawyer has called for reform of the world anti-doping system following the tennis star's reduction in her suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium.
John Haggerty says sports bodies are failing athletes. Mr Haggerty argued that Sharapova would not be in her current position at all if she had been an athlete of numerous other sports.