World No.2 Murray sailed through his second round encounter against Argentina’s Juan Monaco in comfortable fashion. Murray commanded the baseline much greater than his lower ranked opponent and also found great success in forcing Monaco forward on Murray’s terms. Like most matches that Murray competes in, he made his opponent feel very uncomfortable during long periods of this match.
His next opponent is Italy’s Fognini. The Italian survived an epic battle against Benoit Paire, which earned him a third round berth against the defending champion.
Fognini has many strengths that could prove to be crucial against Murray tomorrow. One major strength that Fognini has is the self-confidence and belief to pull off significant victories. Fognini demonstrated his ability on a tennis court when he shocked Rafael Nadal at last year’s US Open from a two sets to love deficit against the Spaniard. That was one of three times that Fognini beat Nadal in 2015.
But how does the volatile Italian match up against Murray? First of all, Fognini has two match wins over Murray – one in Canada 2007 and another on the clay courts of Naples at a Davis Cup Quarter-Final. Many British tennis fans would like to forget that particular Davis Cup rubber, as Murray was completely outplayed from start to finish by Fognini.
Murray knows a lot about his opponent and will also acknowledge that in the duration of a tennis match, Fognini will have considerable highs and drastic lows. Fognini is a gifted technician on both the forehand and backhand, but the one major question mark is his commitment to the cause throughout his career. Can the Italian engage full concentration to the task at hand in order to score the upset victory tomorrow – that remains to be seen.
Fognini prefers the clay courts but has won important matches on the hard surfaces in the past. I think Murray is the favourite but Fognini may play some inspired tennis in phases of this match.
Prediction: Murray in 3 sets.
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