By Ros Satar, in Cincinnati
- Andy Murray  def. Juan Monaco 6-3 6-2
- Faces Kevin Anderson in the third round
CINCINNATI, USA – Andy Murray overcame a shoulder strain to ease past Juan Monaco for the second time in as many weeks.
As the Brit will have discovered last week Monaco is certainly ready to compete again, as both had to adjust to the far faster conditions on a very humid night. After successive days of torrential rain at the Western and Southern Open, Murray had quipped that he would probably be the only person at the tournament who would welcome the delay. The Argentine is on his way back after a lengthy injury lay off with a wrist injury.
He left Rio in the early hours arriving later in the evening in Cincinnati, and along with the faster courts and the different balls, he adjusted his practices to prepare for his opening round as the final night match on Wednesday.
He told reporters: “It’s really humid here, quite different conditions to Rio The court here is pretty fast. It took a bit of time to get into it, but I did all right.
“I did two short sessions yesterday and two short sessions today. I sometimes find that rather than doing one long session, if you’re going into new conditions, it’s a bit easier to do a couple of shorter sessions. I feel like I get my timing a bit quicker that way.”
However in the first set, Murray pulled up, requiring a medical time out to ease some shoulder pain, which he attributed to tournaments using different types of balls. After that though, he was serving a lot better, coasting past the Argentine in the second set.
Murray v Kevin Anderson
H2H: Murray leads 5-2
From one player coming back from injury to another – Anderson has has a miserable year, having to undergo ankle surgery in March as well as struggling with knee and shoulder injuries this year, seeing him pull out of eight tournaments. His comeback on the clay was steady but he will have been disappointed with a first round exit at Wimbledon, and really only struck some consistency in Toronto, where he reached the quarter-final.
The big server will give Murray plenty of returning practice when they head up the night session on Thursday. Anderson of course has a booming serve but the rangy South African is also pretty handy off both sides, and he does know what a net is, even if he might not choose to come forward and play with perhaps a little more finesse.
That is where he will get burned. With an improved serve (shoulder strain notwithstanding) and the variety that Murray possesses, is it any wonder that Anderson has only been able to better him twice – both on hard courts and both in the hard court summer part of the season.
You would still have to give the edge to Murray, although Anderson will feel he has absolutely nothing to lose, and Murray might feel he wants to favour his shoulder a little, with the US Open right around the corner.
Prediction: Murray in two sets.
Murray and Anderson are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 7pm (Midnight BST, Friday).
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