Kyle Edmund crashes out of China Open after defeat to Zhizhen Zhang
Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans ease into second round, while Andy Murray begins his campaign on Tuesday morning vs Matteo Berrettini
Last Updated: 30/09/19 3:27pm
British No 1 Kyle Edmund's wretched run of form continued in Beijing when he was knocked out of the China Open by world No 213 Zhizhen Zhang.
Edmund has suffered a torrid season, blighted by injury, and is without a win since beating Nick Kyrgios in Montreal in August. Things did not get any better for him on Monday in China as he lost 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-5) against a player ranked almost 200 places lower than him.
Having lost the first set, Edmund looked well placed to fight back when claiming the second to force a decider, but it was his opponent who came through, winning a tie-break to set up a second-round meeting with either Dominic Thiem or Richard Gasquet.
Chinese-wildcard Zhang came through two rounds of qualifying but has spent much of the season on the Challenger Tour until a first-round victory in Zhuhui last weekend and his win against Edmund ranks among the best of his career.
Edmund, who recently split from coach Mark Hilton, has won only 12 ATP Tour matches in 2019 and has now suffered first-round exits at his last four tournaments, twice to in-form Daniil Medvedev.
The news was better for the British No 2 and No 3 as Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie, who both came through qualifying, both picked up first-round victories, with Evans now closing on Edmund to be the nation's top-ranked player.
Evans had little trouble in dispatching China's Zhe Li 6-3 6-4 but a tougher test awaits in Gael Monfils or John Isner in the second round. However, Evans' reward if he were to come through would be to become the British No 1 for the first time.
Norrie also advanced after opponent Cristian Garin took a nasty tumble during a first-set tie-break and, after losing it, retired injured to hand Norrie a 7-6 (7-5) 1-0 win and a spot in the second round where he could face Andy Murray.
Three-time Grand Slam champion will Murray hope to take the next step on his recovery, having last week recorded a first ATP Tour-level win since January in beating Tennys Sangren before falling to eventual champion Alex De Minaur.
The Scot wants to up the level of opponent and in a high-class field he has got his wish against Italy's world No 13 Matteo Berrettini in the opening round on Tuesday morning.