Andy Murray vs Dominic Thiem: Madrid Masters Preview

Andy Murray in action ahead of the ATP Cologne Indoors
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In a fascinating opening round clash, Dominic Thiem will lock horns against former World No.1 Andy Murray at the Madrid Masters on Monday. Since his comeback to the tour after recovering from his wrist injury, the Austrian has struggled so far. After suffering opening round exits at the Serbia Open and the Estoril Open, the 2020 US Open champion should be hoping to record his first win since May 2021. While Thiem managed to win a set against John Millman in Belgrade, he bowed out in straight sets in Munich last week.

Despite initially pulling out of the clay-court swing to focus on the grass season, Murray has accepted a wild card and is all set to feature in his 12th Madrid Masters campaign. While Murray once again showed a lot of promise in the second half of the 2021 season, the Brit is going through an indifferent run of form so far this year. He is a two-time champion in Madrid and should be hoping to record some wins under his belt to resurrect his so-far dismal season.

Dominic Thiem vs Andy Murray

Head-to-head:
Murray and Thiem share two wins apiece so far on the ATP tour. While Murray won their opening two meetings, the Austrian came storming back to win the next two. In their only clash on clay so far, Thiem prevailed over the then-World No.1 in three sets in Barcelona in 2017.

Match Preview:

Interestingly, on Monday in Madrid, Murray will play his first match on this surface since Roland Garros 2020. The fast clay court in Madrid, which has traditionally aided huge servers, should benefit Murray in his tournament opener against Thiem.

On the other hand, Thiem should be hoping to put his injury setbacks and disappointments behind him to return to winning ways. Following his monumental triumph at the US Open in 2020, Thiem has found himself in a slumber, unable to win a single title since. Even before suffering an injury setback in June last year, Thiem endured a dismal season in 2021. He should be hoping to start afresh in Madrid to build some momentum in the lead-up to the French Open.

With Thiem yet to record a win on his comeback and Murray struggling for form so far this season, there is a lot at stake for both players. While Thiem relishes playing on clay, Murray has scarcely played on clay since his hip resurfacing surgeries. It remains to be seen how the Brit copes with the challenges of playing on the red dirt once again.

Murray should aim to be proactive and choose the right moments to rush to the net against Thiem, who prefers to position himself at the back of the court. On the other hand, one can expect Thiem to outshine Murray in the long rallies to dictate the game from behind the baseline. The Austrian should emphasize hitting slice backhands into Murray’s backhand wing to neutralize the Brit’s strong double-handed backhand.

Can Thiem prevail over Murray to secure his first victory since his comeback? Or will veteran Murray, pulling a bag of tricks, outclass the Austrian?

An intriguing first-round clash between Murray and Thiem awaits us on Monday in Madrid!

Main Photo from Getty.