Andy Murray will be heading off to Shanghai with plenty of positives.
A week which saw wins against US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini and fellow Brit Cam Norrie ended in a competitive defeat to top seed Dominic Thiem.
Competitive is the word to describe it.
I said on Twitter after the first set you would naturally look at a scoreline of 6-2 and immediately use the phrase one way traffic but it was anything but that.
Andy gave the Austrian plenty to think about in a 6-2 set spanning 51 minutes. The other day I saw a set get to 6-6 in 31 minutes so there is plenty to take out of a set.
Andy went for it well, I thought Dominic Thiem on the forehand especially after serving was out of this world and is something I will come onto again.
One aspect especially in the first set which broke down for Andy was the forehand at times 8 of the 13 unforced errors were off this side.
An early break in the second set did leave Murray on the back foot once again but games were competitive and you could sense a little bit of frustration from the former world number one.
Breaking down the Austrian was a problem. A criticism of Dominic Thiem in the past has been he can sometimes make life tough for himself and get involved in rallies he should be putting away but he was so efficient today against Murray.
Next thing you know is he gets broken serving for the match. A very lethargic and mentally lazy game from the top seed who should be in the locker room but 5-6 down a couple of games later and found himself serving to stay in the set.
A shake of the head and a glare at his racket at 15-15 added tension to the Thiem game especially when Andy painted the line with a stunning forehand for deuce.
A tie-break followed…
The first mini-break went the way of Dominic Thiem who caught the back line taking a 3-1 and 4-1 lead and despite great scrambling from Murray at the change of ends Thiem led 5-1.
A slam dunk winner at the net left Murray at 3-6 onto Dominic Thiem to serve it out, again.
No problems this time as Dominic Thiem served it out for his place in the semi-final against Karen Khachanov.
The numbers for Andy;
29 winners (18 FH)
22 unforced errors (11 FH)
19/24 net points won
67% first serve in (Thiem 66%)
68% first serve won (Thiem 87%)
36% second serve won (Thiem 33%)
3 double faults
1/2 break points
Murray will now head off to Shanghai we don’t know who he will play yet. Draw will be done at 10:30 am tomorrow morning local time which is 4:30am UK time.
He is back up to 286 in the world and a round one win in Shanghai will see him progress to top 250.