MIAMI, USA- Andy Murray will kick off his Miami Open campaign against Denis Istomin on Saturday.
The British number one is looking to bounce back after a disappointing three set loss to Federico Delbonis in Indian Wells. Murray was subpar that day in one of his least desired tournaments, but as a former champion in Miami, the world number two should feel more comfortable this time around.
“Indian Wells has always been a place that I’ve struggled a little bit, I’ve not felt very comfortable there. It was a tough tournament again for me this year.
“I’m hoping that getting to Miami – familiar surroundings, conditions that I like – I’ll be able to play some better tennis this year.”
The Brit is returning to a city he has often used as a training base, and a tournament that has seen past success. Murray was edged out by world number one, Novak Djokovic, a year a go in the final, but he hopes that his practice here will help him go one further.
Murray said via Sky Sports: “I’ve got here nice and early so I had good preparations and time to get used to the conditions which have been pretty tricky – windy, hot and humid and very, very different to Indian Wells.
“Normally I do my training blocks here but with everything that happened last year – the Davis Cup finishing late, a baby on the way – I didn’t spend as much time as usual out here.
“I’m very familiar with it here, I do like it here. I have an apartment here and I spend a lot of time training on the courts at the venue so I’m hoping it works out well for me.”
Despite a terrible start to the season in which he lost seven straight matches, Istomin managed to grind a three set win over the highly touted teenager Borna Coric in round one. The Uzbekistani came from a set down to win 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 against the Croatian.
Murray has met Istomin twice before and was victorious on both occasions. In two matches three years a go, Murray defeated Istomin 6-4, 7-6(3) in Brisbane, and in four sets at the US Open later that year.
Istomin is a tricky player that may be seen as a tour underachiever. It could be a tough test for Murray, but it is one he should pass.
Murray is due to play Istomin on Saturday the 26th of March.
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