MONTE CARLO, MONACO- Andy Murray will face unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire in the third round of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.
The Brit will be looking to take advantage of Novak Djokovic’s early exit when the pair step onto Court Rainer III at 10AM BST.
Although the world number one was drawn in the opposite side of the draw, Murray’s chances of winning the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters for the first time have increased, especially with Tomas Berdych’s upset defeat to Damir Dzumhur. However, Murray’s focus will be on the ever unpredictable Paire on Thursday.
The Brit scraped past another Frenchman, Pierre Hugues Herbert, in the opening round with a laboured performance that saw the world number two come through in three sets.
Murray was quoted in the Daily Mail saying that he has felt flat since the Davis Cup first round against Japan.
“The consistency has not been there, I’m maybe not as sharp as I could be mentally. My concentration’s not been so good. I’m a lot more happy off the court than I ever have been before. But on the court I’ve not been playing as well,” Murray said.
“I’ve definitely been a little bit flat since the Davis Cup. I don’t know exactly why that’s been the case. But in a lot of my matches it’s been that way, some good stuff mixed in with some pretty bad stuff. The norm is bad just now, so I need to improve on that.”
You would think that Murray would have to improve on his first round showing when he faces the Frenchman, but the fact is, who knows which Paire will show up?
On his day Paire can beat almost anyone. He can serve big, he has great touch, he is creative and has one of the best two handed backhands on tour. However, for all his talent Paire can often lack motivation and lets his antics overshadow his tennis. We certainly were treated to the ‘good’ Paire on Tuesday as he defeated Joao Sousa in straight sets. This came after a struggling three set victory over Inigo Cervantes where he was forced to save match point.
Paire likes the clay and is playing at home so he should be motivated. The Frenchman has had success on the dirt in the past, including a his first and only ATP world tour title win in Bastad last year. The world number 22 has also previously reached the semi finals of the Rome Masters in 2013.
Murray has played Paire before, albeit not at ATP level. The Brit defeated the Frenchman 6-2, 7-5 in the 2014 Hopman Cup, but that is not much to be looked in to because Paire was recovering from an injury and the match was an exhibition.
It is difficult to know what is going to happen as Paire is capable of upsetting Murray, but also losing in a blowout. The only thing that is certain, the Frenchman will provide entertainment one way or another.
Murray vs Paire is scheduled on Court Rainer III 10am GMT on Thursday
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