By Jake Davies

  • Andy Murray defeats Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
  • Andy Murray vs Kyle Edmund [4]
WASHINGTON, USA – Andy Murray showed his resilience, with a three set victory over Mackenzie McDonald and now faces Kyle Edmund in the second round of Washington.

 

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Andy Murray def. Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-4, 7-5

Andy Murray returned with a gritty and determined victory as he battled back from a set down to best Mackenzie McDonald in three sets and will now play Kyle Edmund in the second round of Washington.

The first set drew many concerns in terms of the level of Murray’s tennis. He did take an early break lead, but McDonald really started firing away with breathtaking, aggressive and no nonsense tennis. The American did not really back down as he took each and every second serve return aggressively and really took away Murray’s defensive capabilities by ending the point in two and three shots.

McDonald deserved the opening set by breaking Murray in two of his three service games and Murray was still searching for that match sharpness, a stronger second serve and the length of his ground-strokes was troubling him at times.

McDonald was once again playing at a strong level in the second set, but from 4-3 in the set, where the finishing line was drawing closer, McDonald’s coolness and calmness under pressure completely left him and that was the moment where Murray started to find a way back into the match as he sensed a first real vulnerability in the level of his opponent.

Murray went on to take the next three games and the set from there and he started the much better player and the more likely in the final set as signs started to look more promising for the three-time Grand Slam champion. Murray made minor adjustments and improvements to his game, winning more points off his forehand, improving the pace and depth on his regular groundstrokes.

Murray quickly found himself serving for the match at 5-4 with McDonald rolling the dice, realising that if he was going to lose, he would go down fighting. Murray had to dig exceptionally deep, needing to serve out the match on the second time of asking at 6-5 and requiring seven match points in total before getting over the line. A battling, determined and in many ways a typical Murray performance of old.

 

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Andy Murray vs Kyle Edmund [4] H2H: Murray leads 2-1

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 17: Kyle Edmund and Andy Murray at the Aegon Championships at The Queens Club, 2016 (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Murray now has an exciting match in prospect as he goes up against Edmund in the second round. Edmund got the win in their last meeting in Eastbourne, where the new British No.1 Edmund won with the loss of just eight games in that second round clash.

It definitely feels like there is a certain power shift in this head-to-head. Edmund has improved inside the last couple of seasons, has gained experience at the highest level, won big matches at the majors and now will probably feel that he is in a perfect position to regularly beat the better players on tour including Murray when he is firing on all cylinders.

Murray’s competitive spirit will want to put things right after the loss in Eastbourne and after experiencing his first hard-court win since the Dubai final of February last year, Murray will really want to keep the ball rolling and keep the momentum running in his favour.

The question will be whether Murray’s body truly holds up the way he would like after a really gruelling match from a physical point of view. It has been a while since Murray has battled on a tough hard-court in that manner, so he will be hoping that the next twenty-four hours of recovery runs perfectly.

Edmund certainly is the favourite in this match. This time last year Edmund started his US hard-court swing with a semi-final finish in Atlanta and it would be no surprise if Edmund makes another decent run during Washington.

Prediction: Edmund in three sets

 

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