ATP Monte Carlo: Murray vs Herbert preview

By Niall Clarke

  • Andy Murray vs Pierre Hugues Herbert preview
  • Head to head: 0-0

MONTE CARLO, MONACO-Andy Murray will play Pierre Hugues Herbert in the second round of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.

The Brit is still seeking his first title of the season, and will face the French qualifier Herbert in his opening match on Tuesday. Murray has never faced the 25 year old before, but will be wary of the threat he possesses after his victory over Gaudio Pella in round one.

Murray is returning to the clay after a successful stint last season where he claimed two titles, including the Madrid Masters. Monte Carlo is one of several stops in the build up to the French Open which starts on May 22.

“Last year gave me confidence, not just the French Open but the tournaments in the build-up, just winning and beating (Kei) Nishikori, (Milos) Raonic, Rafa (Nadal), (David) Ferrer and obviously pushing Novak pretty close at Roland Garros,’ Murray told The Daily Mail.

I know that it’s possible that I could win the French Open but I need to play at an extremely high level and there’s no guarantees of me doing that.”

Murray is returning to Monte Carlo for the first time in three years, where his previous best is a run to the semi final. The last time he took to the courts here, the British number one suffered a straight sets defeat to Stan Wawrinka in 2013.

“Normally, the reason I haven’t played here the last few years is because I haven’t played on clay from the French Open right the way through until now,”  he added.

“Whereas this time I had a week’s training block before the Davis Cup final – before the O2 – and then another week again in the Davis Cup final in November, so it wasn’t such a huge break that I had away from the clay. I feel like I’ve been able to adjust a bit quicker because of that. “

Prediction

Murray was vulnerable to early exits on clay prior to 2015, but his performances on the dirt last year showed he is more comfortable on the surface than ever. With the back injury behind him and the we he has improved his sliding on the surface, clay is no longer the glaring weakness it once was.

Herbert is a good player, but Murray should be too quick, too precise and too versatile for the Frenchman.

Murray in straight sets.

Murray is scheduled to appear second on centre court following the match between 15th seed Gilles Simon and Grigor Dimtrov. Roger Federer will also make his return from injury and illness in the packed day three schedule.

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