Murray faces a daunting first round opponent to start his US Open campaign as he squares off with the Czech Rosol. The big-hitting World No.82, who has been as high as No.26 in the world, provides a stern challenge as he has shown at the highest level on a number of occasions.
Many will remember Rosol beating Rafael Nadal on Centre Court at Wimbledon 2012. It was a result that really announced Rosol on the biggest stage and turned out to be one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Championships.
Rosol has done extremely well to consolidate that 2012 third round showing at Wimbledon by becoming a regular feature in the Top 100. Many have disappeared in the past following a standout result, but not Rosol.
Murray has rolled through the match wins in 2016. The Brit has been ever-present in the business end of the biggest tournaments – making the final of all three Grand Slams of 2016, winning one and defending the Olympic title in Rio.
He is arguably in the best form of his life as he put together a 22 match winning streak before he fell victim to Marin Cilic in the final of the Cincinnati Masters. It can be said that Murray is definitely the most confident of all the competitors in the upcoming Grand Slam, and should he get through Rosol then he would fancy his chances of making a meaningful run at the title this year.
There is no love lost between Murray and Rosol as was evident in their meeting in Munich last year. Murray leads the H2H 2-0 with two three-set wins over the Czech player – one on a hard court and another on the red dirt.
Rosol can play some inspired, sublime tennis in moments, but the steadiness of Murray when it matters most should see him through this one in four sets.
Prediction: Murray in four sets.
Kyle Edmund vs Richard Gasquet  H2H: First meeting
Edmund’s first round opponent at Flushing Meadows will be a Top 20 opponent – Gasquet. It is certainly a difficult match up for the Brit as he locks horns with a former US Open semi-finalist in 2013.
Over the course of his career, Gasquet has produced impressive results on most surfaces – he truly is an all-court player, although I would say his best surface is the grass courts of Wimbledon. One frailty to Gasquet’s game that Edmund will be striving to exploit is the lack of fighting spirit that the Frenchman sometimes shows on a tennis court.
Edmund needs to make this match a huge ordeal from the beginning to the end in order to get under the skin of the higher-ranked Gasquet. The rising British player should look to dominate with the forehand, manage the weaker backhand and try to make Gasquet do a lot of the lengthy running.
Gasquet has been suffering a niggling back injury for a long time now. It became apparent that that same back injury was still bothering him in his straight sets loss to John Millman in Winston-Salem this week. Perhaps that is something that Edmund can work in his favour if he senses a considerable hindrance to Gasquet from a physical standpoint.
I am not totally confident that Gasquet will have a long tournament, but I think he will prove too much for the young Edmund.
Prediction: Gasquet in 3 sets.
Aljaz Bedene vs Nick Kyrgios  H2H: First meeting
Another British player was drawn with a big seed in the first round as Bedene will meet the Atlanta champion Kyrgios.
It is a seriously tough ask for Bedene to make a lasting impression on the now Top 20 player Kyrgios. Bedene does not have the luxury of the greatest weapons that can truly threaten the Australian. Kyrgios is having one of his best years on the tour and loves the conditions of a hard court that allows him to get the very best out of his powerful game.
Prediction: Kyrgios in three comfortable sets.
Dan Evans vs Rajeev Ram H2H: First meeting
Evans has just won a Challenger tournament on outdoor hard, which sets him up perfectly for the US Open. His opponent in the first round will American Rajeev Ram.
Ram’s favourite surface is grass – a surface where he has won his only two ATP titles on in Newport in 2009 and 2015. Ram’s heavy serve and forehand combination work well on a fast-paced hard and grass court.
Evans is the more agile of the two and will be looking to expose the suspect movement of the older Ram. The British player should come out on top in the longer rallies, while Ram’s intentions are firmly on delivering short, powerful points from the start.
Prediction: Ram in four sets.
Murray could be the sole victor for the Brits in the first round of the Men’s singles event. Edmund, Evans and Bedene will have to pull off some of their best tennis in order to progress to the second round of the last Grand Slam of the year.
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