By Jake Davies

  • Murray’s BNP Paribas Masters journey starts on Wednesday
  • Andy Murray [1] vs Fernando Verdasco

Andy Murray [1] vs Fernando Verdasco H2H: Murray leads 13-1

Murray and Spain’s Verdasco will face off for the 15th time at ATP level in the Paris Indoors event this week. It is an incredibly crucial week for both players. Murray is edging closer and closer to the World No.1 ranking, while Verdasco is desperately seeking some fine form to take into the new year.

The struggles that Verdasco has endured over the years is well-documented. Seven years ago, Verdasco achieved his first Grand Slam semi-final and climbed into the Top 10 for the first time, but he has not maintained that Top 10 level of performance throughout his career. In two weeks time, the Elite 8 performers on the ATP tour will fight it out for the World Tour Finals crown, which is something that Verdasco was competing for in 2009 – now he is trying to find that magic touch at any level at the ATP events.

Murray’s record, not only against Verdasco, but against other left-handed players, have been remarkable over the years. Many suggest it is difficult to adjust to playing a left-hander on the tour, but Murray seemed to have taken it like a duck to water. The only left-hander that Murray has found troubling at times is Rafael Nadal against whom Murray has a 7-17 losing record.

One reason why Murray has fared well against left-handers over a long period of time, is because of the familiarity of returning the serve of his brother over the years in Scotland. Another reason is the fact that when a left-hander serves out wide on the ad court, it plays into Murray’s strength where he can return admirably from the double-handed backhand side.

I think the conditions in Paris will suit Murray much more than the Spaniard. Over the years, Verdasco has adapted well to the faster hard courts that allow him to play with more risk and get rewarded for doing so. These Paris indoor courts make it much harder for the aggressor to generate winner after winner, which helps the defensive players enormously – that can be seen with Novak Djokovic winning the last three Paris Masters in succession.

Verdasco, who is yet to win back to back matches since Winston-Salem Open in August, will find it hard to hold off the unforced error count against Murray. From week to week, Verdasco rarely finds consistent results, so beating the World No. 2 is a massive ask for the Spaniard.

Murray has Verdasco’s number on the fastest of surfaces, as we saw at Wimbledon and Queens, so he should have this match up all under control on one of the slowest surfaces available on the ATP tour right now.

Prediction: Murray in two sets.

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