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Murray edged out in Shanghai thriller vs. Fognini

Andy Murray suffered an agonising defeat to Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the second round of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday, losing 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (2) in three hours and 11 minutes.

Murray’s serve was broken early in the match, but the 32-year-old immediately responded to level the first set at 2-2. The Scot then pushed on for a 4-2 lead before his opponent erased the deficit with another break of serve, followed by a hold to love.

The set was ultimately decided in a closely-fought tiebreak, with Fognini emerging victorious.

The second set began with a mammoth game, which eventually ended with Fognini holding serve, and a deadlock ensued for several tense games before Murray broke for a 3-2 lead. This time, the former world No. 1 was able to surge clear and wrap up the set 6-2 to force a decider.

The final set followed serve until 4-4, when Murray found what appeared to be a crucial break to serve for the match. Fognini broke back, but immediately surrendered his own serve, allowing his opponent another chance to serve out the contest. Murray again faltered, however, setting up another tiebreak.

Fognini raced through the breaker to finally secure victory after more than three hours on court.

It was announced on Tuesday that Murray — who reached the quarterfinals in Beijing last week before falling to top seed Dominic Thiem — would make his Grand Slam return at next year’s Australian Open.

The three-time major champion’s last Slam appearance came at this year’s Aussie Open, where Murray is a five-time runner-up. He fell to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round in a five-set thriller, which the Scot thought at the time could be his final ever match.

Successful hip-resurfacing surgery enabled Murray to make his comeback to tennis this summer, however, with a period of doubles — including a title at Queen’s Club with partner Feliciano Lopez in Murray’s first tournament back — soon followed by his singles return.

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