Former World No. 1 Andy Murray looks to build further momentum after he reached the final of the ATP Challenger Biella 1 event, where he lost to Illya Marchenko in straight sets. Murray was due to participate in last week’s Biella 2 Challenger but was withdrew, citing hip soreness before making his way to France to resume action on the tour.
The Open Sud de France boasts a respectable draw boosted by the top two seeds: Roberto Bautista Agut and David Goffin. There are also a few dangerous floaters with the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille both being unseeded.
The former British no. 1 has won 20 of his last 21 indoor matches on the regular ATP Tour, although his last victory came in October 2019.
Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2020)
Andy Murray [WC] (WR: 121)
Egor Gerasimov (WR: 83)
Tournament Previous Best
1st Serve %
Service Games Won %
Break Points Saved %
2nd Serve Return Points Won %
Break Points Converted %
Gerasimov was able to get a lot more than the 7 tour-level matches that Murray managed in 2020, but even so the stats pitch them close enough to each other for this match to be competitive if Murray feels fully fit.
Gerasimov possesses a pure, all-court game and is equally comfortable at the net as he is from the back of the court. The Belarusian doesn’t really have a standout weapon, although his serve can win him a tonne of cheap points if it is firing. Gerasimov has played the likes of Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev at Grand Slams so he certainly won’t be phased by facing a player who has previously topped the world rankings.
Despite appearing to be in a good run of form, doubt may be creeping into the mind of the world no.79 after he suffered a bruising loss in his latest contest. He managed to claim just a solitary game against eventual semi-finalist, Aslan Karastev, in the second round of the Australian Open.
Murray enjoyed a decent enough week in Biella 1 but largely against Challenger-level opposition, before coming unstuck against Marchenko in the final. Having taken some time and more importantly heading back to tour level competition, Gerasimov’s serving will be a good test of his movement and his returning skills.
Given the stop-start momentum Murray has endured over the past couple of years, it is extremely difficult to see which way any of his matches are going to go. A lack of training due to the pandemic could prove to be a major factor in this one for the Brit. If Murray is able to replicate his form in Biella then he should have enough to squeeze through and set up a second round meeting with Aljaz Bedene, or Jannik Sinner, the fifth seed.
Prediction: Murray in three sets.
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