After a fantastic Asian swing, Murray has set his sights on potentially finishing the year as the World No.1 – something he is yet to achieve. At this point last year, it looked increasingly unlikely that the Brit would ever be in this position, but now the World No.1 ranking looks a realistic, feasible goal in the coming months.
That goal will not be achieved unless Murray’s amazing season continues in Vienna. He starts his campaign against the left-handed, big-hitting Slovakian Martin Klizan. It is the first time he has faced the Slovakian, which is surprising considering Klizan has had some notable success on the ATP tour over the years.
The 27-year-old Slovakian won his biggest title to date by lifting the Rotterdam title earlier this year, beating Gael Monfils in that indoor final. He won another ATP 500 tournament in Hamburg on indoor clay. The main low point of Klizan’s 2016 has been the accumulation of serious injuries that have dominated one of his better seasons on tour. Between February and June, he only played three competitive matches, and had to retire from two of those due to the leg injury that forced him to miss a massive part of the season.
There is an argument that Klizan, who is now just inside the Top 40, could have been fighting for a Top 20 ranking if he was able to play more of the clay court events in the build-up to Roland Garros. The Slovakian has had a lot of his success on clay. He has won three of his five titles on the surface and considers it his favourite.
Murray might have to adapt to the heaviness of Klizan’s shots. Although he is yet to face him, he would have read a lot about the Slovakian over the years. The Brit has the advantage of playing and winning a lot of matches in recent months and is currently on an eleven-match win streak. He also has the benefit of knowing he can play well on the courts of Vienna – he won the title in 2014 when he beat David Ferrer in a dramatic final.
Klizan plays fearless tennis on indoor surfaces because of the lack of factors that can affect his ball toss and groundstrokes, but Murray should keep up his impressive 2016 record of wins and come through this match unscathed.
Prediction: Murray in straight sets
Kyle Edmund vs David Ferrer  H2H: Edmund leads 1-0
Can Edmund replicate the impressive win he achieved against Ferrer in Antwerp last week? Sometimes when a young player prepares for a match against a quality player like the Spaniard, it can be rather daunting as they fear their reputation. This can have an adverse effect psychologically.
Edmund would do well to use the confidence of recent scalps to continue his good form at the upcoming Vienna event. The Brit has beaten Guillermo Garcia Lopez, Roberto Bautista Agut, Richard Gasquet and John Isner in the past few months and is riding a wave of momentum as he adapts to life in the World’s Top 40.
I think Ferrer will get some retribution for last week’s loss. Edmund had not won an indoor hard court match in an ATP main draw before last week and the Spaniard will have learned a lot about the young Brit’s game, which he would not have been so familiar with before Antwerp.
Prediction: Ferrer in two sets
Edmund takes on Ferrer on Centre Court at 12pm UK time tomorrow, while Murray faces Klizan on Wednesday.
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