PARIS, FRANCE – The old Andy Murray looked to be returning as he lifted his levels to advance to the second round of Roland Garros – where he will face Martin Klizan, while Kyle Edmund faces Renzo Olivo.
Andy Murray  v Martin Klizan – H2H: Murray leads 1-0
It was a welcome return to winning ways for World No. 1 and top seed Andy Murray who seemed to click into gear after dropping a set to Andrey Kuznetsov in his opening round at Roland Garros.
Given his titanic improvement on the clay over the last two years it is perhaps easy to think that this is an unmitigated disaster with an elbow injury forcing him to pull out of Miami, just one win in Monte Carlo before finally what getting back some confidence in Barcelona.
Yet he needed to back that up with strong performances to defend some pretty hefty points in Madrid (final) and Rome (title) – neither which transpired. Instead we saw a Murray who felt his movement, so key to his game, just not there.
It was always the plan for Ivan Lendl to join Murray for the second Grand Slam of the year, and despite dealing with illness, and coughing at times quite heavily in his opening match, Murray found a way to outsmart Kuznetsov and to play a little more freely that we have seen of late.
He faces a somewhat tempestuous character (if his first round match here was anything to go by) in Martin Klizan. There was no shortage of drama in his match against French wildcard Laurent Lokoli with both of them giving each other the needle – first Lokoli putting on a pronounced limp and then Klizan celebrating a double fault from the Frenchman and culminating in no handshake and Lokoli waving Klizan away.
Nothing quite do dramatic happened when they last played each other in Vienna last year as Murray was on a run of some of his best tennis in his career. Klizan rallied after losing the first set there to push Murray to a tie-break and going on to level the match before being bagelled in the decider – not unlike his match against Kuznetsov in his opener.
“He has a lot of talent. He can hit a big ball. You know, he is quite unpredictable on the court. He plays, you know, a lot of drop-shots and quite unorthodox sort of shot selection, so it can be difficult to prepare for that.
“Obviously I saw a few videos of his match today. It was obviously a pretty entertaining match. Yeah, hopefully I can go out there and play some good tennis and make it tough for him, because he had a very long match today.”
Klizan has a big serve and some big shot but probably lacks the consistency when it comes to a match up against Murray.
Prediction: Murray in three sets.
Kyle Edmund v Renzo Olivo – H2H: Edmund leads 1-0
One of the upsets of the tournaments was a couple of days in the making as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s French Open ended at the hands of the relatively inexperienced Renzo Olivo.
Tsonga had to serve to stay in the match, and admittedly saved the three match points Olivo has swiftly built, but the Argentine held firm in front of a very vocal Parisian crowd, to win just his second main draw match at a Grand Slam.
As curious as it sounds, Kyle Edmund seems like a veteran in comparison, and has reached the second round for the third straight year, on a surface that suits him.
Edmund, speaking after his first set victory said: “I like playing clay, especially because the nature of the clay court surface, different trajectory of the ball. I like to play with a lot of spin and height, and that — the clay, I think, gives you a lot of results, like, you benefit from that on the clay, mixing up the heights.
“So your shots get rewarded, so that’s why I think it suits my game. I like to play the height and spin. Especially the surface here as well, when you do play aggressively and flatten out.
“I’ve had some success here. I have won matches in the senior event and, obviously, had some success in the juniors. I think that’s why it helps me.”
A lot of Olivo’s success last year came on the Challenger clay court circuit. This year playing at World Tour level he reached the Quito quarter-final and played his way through qualies into the Monte Carlo main draw.
Obviously he is as happy if not slightly more filled with glee on the clay courts than Edmund but maybe experience will be key here. This is winnable for Edmund, but he knows better than to assume that with Tsonga’s absence the draw becomes easier. That being said, he has beaten Olivo, on clay albeit a couple of years ago at the Buenos Aires Challenger.
“He’s playing well, beating a good, quality player. I mean, got to be playing my best tennis [to beat him].”
Prediction: Edmund in four sets
Murray is scheduled on Court Suzanne Lenglen, not before 12:30pm (11:30am BST) and Edmund is scheduled on Court 6, not before 2:30pm (1:30pm BST).
Featured Image Credit: Christopher Johnson
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