Ever since Andy Murray made his return from his hip resurfacing surgery in the summer of 2019, it has been a joy to just watch him back on the courts, let alone see him winning. While the former World No.1 hasn’t won any tournament this year, few of his matches in the past couple of months have simply been a spectacle to watch. His win over Carlos Alcaraz and his engaging performance against Alexander Zverev last week at Indian Wells was reminiscent of the good old days when the Brit was on the top of his game.
Tuesday in Antwerp, Murray showcased his fight once again. Showing nerves of steel and hunger to win, the Brit turned back the clock to come through an epic three-setter marathon against the young American Frances Tiafoe in the opener at the European Open.
The crowds were thoroughly entertained in a see-saw battle that saw 34-year-old Murray edge past Tiafoe 7-6(2) 6-7(7) 7-6(8) in 3 hours and 45 minutes on the Center Court. In an edge-of-a-seat thriller, there was hardly anything to choose between the two. Neither of them deserved to lose, but it was Murray’s immaculate serving that eventually helped him get over the line against an inspired Tiafoe.
Andy Murray vs Diego Schwartzman Preview
In the Round of 16 at Antwerp on Thursday, Murray will take on the No.2 seed Diego Schwartzman in what promises to be an exciting matchup. The Argentine received a bye in his opener and one can expect him to be well-rested and raring to go against Murray.
Interestingly, Murray and Schwartzman haven’t faced each other in the past. That certainly spices up their upcoming contest.
The 29-year-old Argentine was a quarterfinalist at Indian Wells last week, losing to the eventual champion Cameron Norrie. After his maiden Major semifinal appearance at Roland Garros last October, Schwartzman was able to break into the Top 10 in the rankings for the first time in his career. However, his journey since has been full of early exits and disappointing losses, something that he won’t have expected after making his maiden ATP Finals appearance last November. Nonetheless, his wins over Casper Ruud and Daniel Evans in the Californian desert last week will give the Argentine some confidence ahead of his enticing contest against Murray.
The fast, indoor hard-courts at Antwerp are expected to aid Murray’s game who has enjoyed tremendous success at the indoor events in the past. European Open is the only tournament that Andy Murray has managed to win post his comeback following his second hip resurfacing surgery. The three-time Grand Slam Champion will be hoping to recreate the magic of 2019 again this week.
Though Schwartzman is the 2nd seed, his form is dodgy and inconsistent. He will face a stern test against Murray in his opener. Serving has always been Schwartzman’s weakness throughout his career. Against a quality returner like Murray, he cannot afford a poor service game or two. Murray is too good and will pounce on even the slightest of chances that his opponents offer. Tiafoe learned this lesson the hard way on Tuesday, and the Argentine might have to play out of his skin to beat an in-form and rejuvenated Murray.
After his long outing on the court on Tuesday, Murray might feel the aftereffects of his marathon three-setter when he takes on Schwartzman. The latter needs to capitalize on Murray’s exhaustion factor by pushing the Brit in the early stages of the contest. The longer the match lasts, the greater it will aid the Argentine, who is young and fresh in comparison to his opponent.
As far as Murray is concerned, he can approach this contest as a great opportunity to secure a win over one of the Top 15 players and a former Top 10 player and must aim to put pressure on Schwartzman’s relatively slower and weaker second serves.
By the look of Murray’s performances over the past couple of months, and especially the one on Tuesday, the Brit has more than a chance of upsetting the No.2 seed, who is not in the greatest of forms either this year.
Can Schwartzman find his form to beat a rejuvenated Murray? Or will the former World No.1 add on to his performance in the tournament opener to take down the No.2 seed?
An engrossing, mouth-watering, and dazzling contest awaits us in Antwerp as Murray and Schwartzman are all set to lock horns!
Embed from Getty Images