All eyes will be on Andy Murray and quite possibly the most watched hip in the world as he takes on Cameron Norrie in a second match for both players in this league format. Murray looked to be moving well and serving well in a tricky first encounter with the current British No. 1 Dan Evans.
Norrie however was stunned by 18-year-old Jack Draper in his opening match in this third iteration of the Battle of the Brits. He made that match as gruelling as he could for the youngster who has grown and filled out a lot since he was the runner-up at the 2018 Wimbledon Boys’ Singles.
It was a spirited start from Draper, who edged Norrie in the first set tie-break but was looking fatigued at times as Norrie started to settle into the task. It is to Draper’s credit that he stuck with Norrie who started to get drawn into over-pressing and making errors we rarely see when he is out on the tour.
The British No. 3 will want to steady the ship, and much like Evans, he could make this equally physical, so this could be another good test for Murray.
It has been a long road for the former World No. 1 and three-time Slam champion. Two hip operations, and resulting injuries has made his comeback arduous, maybe even doubtful at times, so it will be interesting to see how he pulls up from his match with Evans, which was over two and a half hours.
Norrie will be wanting to get points on the Premier League board, but he might have to take Murray the distance to get the win.
The British No. 2 Heather Watson has been in impressive form so far in the Premier League, as has Emma Raducanu but both had a bit more of a battle on their hands to clinch a second win.
Raducanu’s easy power and heavy ball-striking put her very much in the driving seat in the first set against Katy Dunne, but struggled to control her serve with a slew of double-faults that gave Dunne a chance to get a foothold in the match. In a set with six straight breaks of serve, finally Raducanu tamed the jitters to break decisively and finally close out the set.
Watson roared through the first set against Jodie Burrage – both had star turns in the domestic tournaments as elite sport started to ease back after the lockdown, and Watson’s better form in Dubai last week stood her in good stead as a frustrated Burrage made it more competitive in the second set.
Raducanu showed some frailties but was able to take advantage of Dunne’s own issues with her serve, but Watson has been looking solid throughout her game. Her main challenge will be to get on the end of those thumping Raducanu serves, and also maintain her own for easy points as the youngster has been excelling in some very aggressive returning. For both, this could be their toughest encounter yet.
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