There might have been a measure of relief for Andy Murray that he was a little shaper on the court, in his second round at the ATP Challenger event in Biella. Although Murray did not face a break point on his serve in the first round, he was beaten in the first set tie-break before normal service was resumed for the former World No. 1.
Murray was quick off the mark against the Gian Marco Moroni, breaking before the first change of ends, and then again at the end of the set, but Moroni was not going to lie down for the No. 1 seed. He broke Murray straight back as the Brit was serving for the first set with Murray eventually serving it out.
It was a competitive second set and both players had their chances to break before Murray finally found an opening in the penultimate game before serving out the match to love.
H2H & Match Fundamentals
Andy Murray [1/WC] v Blaz Rola 
H2H: Murray leads 1-0
ATP Challenger 80 Biella 1
Prize Money: €1,260
Fourth on PalaPajetta Court, not before 4:30pm (3:30pm GMT)
There were puns a-plenty when Murray took on the big serving Blaz Rola at Wimbledon in 2014, as he was defending his first Wimbledon title. At the time, Murray admitted that he could generate a lot of power from the back of the court, and despite being quite the big unit, could move well too although he was not as well versed on a tricky surface like grass.
Indoors will be a different matter, but in his first round, Murray had to deal with the weight of ball coming from Maximilian Marterer, and so this could be very similar, with quick service games.
A former US college player, Rola has largely plied his trade on the Challenger circuit, and certainly in the last couple of years, either side of 2020 and the general disruption that the global pandemic has caused.
His reaching the quarter-finals are the result of his first back-to-back wins this year, but expect Murray to come through in tight sets.
Prediction: Murray in straight sets.
Murray and Rola are scheduled on PalaPajetta Court, not before 4:30pm (3:30pm GMT)
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