Andy Murray secured a 6-3 6-2 win over Dan Evans in the first round of the Tennis World Championship.
Murray looked to be on course for an easy win with a blistering start to the first set.
The Scot is still looking for his best tennis since his hip surgery, but the second half of 2022 has seen some of his most consistent form and fitness.
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He raced into a 5-1 lead and looked to have Evans on the ropes, but the Englishman - in some ways having completed his own comeback since a recreational drugs ban - held on to go down 6-3.
In the second set, Murray had an early chance of his own break to go 1-0 up and maintain his momentum.
That momentum continued as he put the pressure on Evans who could not resist the 34-year-old Scot, who cruised into a 4-1 lead before not losing a point in the sixth game to set up a potentially final game for the win.
Murray let Evans back into the match when Evans was able to hit back to 5-2, but all that did was prolong the suffering, with Murray able to serve for the win.
Speaking after the win, Murray said: “We practise a lot together so we know each other's games well and we always play a lot of long points. Dan has skills very few players have. It's fun to play against him.”
After a difficult couple of years, Murray said his main aim at the moment was, “Being fit and healthy, being able to compete... I want to stay healthy for the next few years and see what I've got and stay competitive.”
The Scot will play fellow veteran Rafael Nadal next and he was looking forward to the test.
“I didn't know if I was going to get the opportunity to play matches like that again. Rafa is someone I’ve had battles with. It'll be great to get the opportunity to play against him again, and hopefully we can put on a good performance for a couple of old guys.”
Also through to the semi-finals of the event in the United Arab Emirates is Denis Shapovalov, who produced a fine performance to beat fellow North American Tayor Fritz 6-3 6-0.
The Canadian left-hander has added Jamie Delgado, Murray's former coach, to his team as he looks to continue to his development and return to the top ten in the world rankings.
The 22-year-old made light work of Fritz, needing only 49 minutes to complete victory and winning the final nine games of the match.
He will face Andrey Rublev for a place in the final, the Russian having earned a bye through the quarter-finals at the short exhibition tune-up event.
Fritz and Evans will contest fifth place at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex.

Jabeur roars back to win women's crown

Ons Jabeur secured a riveting 3-6 6-4 10-8 victory over Belinda Bencic to claim the crown in the women's event at the Mubadala Tennis World Championship.
The Tunisian, who replaced Emma Raducanu at the event after the US Open champion's positive Covid-19 test, started poorly, with Bencic taking control of the first set with plenty of forthright first and second serves.
Yet the highest-ranked Arab tennis player in ATP or WTA history roared back, taking the first five games of the second set with an array of drop shots.
And though Bencic would stage a mini-fightback of her own, Jabeur sent it to a race-to-ten deciding set.
A hard-fought tiebreak followed, with Jabeur edging to within a point of victory but letting three match points slip.
However she was able to take the fourth as a backhand from the Swiss player drifted long, the two players sharing a friendly shake of hands and an embrace at the net.
"Belinda surprised me with some drop shots - she was stealing my thunder a little bit!" Jabeur said after securing victory.
"The crowd is amazing and the energy is perfect."
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