By Niall Clarke

  • Andy Murray vs Radek Stepanek preview
  • Head to head: 6-2 Murray

PARIS, FRANCE- Andy Murray will kick off his French Open campaign against tricky Czech veteran Radek Stepanek on Monday.

Murray to meet Stepanek

The Brit is due on fourth on court Philippe Chatrier to face the 37 year old who gave Murray a tough time when the pair last met In Madrid only a few weeks a go.

The world number two was able to rally from a set down to beat Stepanek 6-7 6-3 6-1 on that day and has more often than not found a solution to his tricky game. The Czech did however get the better of Murray at Queens in 2014, his last top ten victory.

Since then, the 20 year tour veteran has seen his career slide as he reaches his twilight years. Stepanek has been reserved to the Challenger tour in singles and seen his ranking fall outside the top 100.

However he has found success on the doubles tour, winning two grand slams with Leander Paes and reaching the Australian Open final with Dennis Nestor where he was defeated by Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.

The Czech has a more classical serve and volley style with a lot of variety, so that coupled with Murray’s defence should make for an entertaining contest no matter the result. Stepanek has the advantage of playing three matches in qualifying so is more adjusted to the courts and conditions, however it should be the Brit who advances to the second round.

“The qualifiers will have played three matches,” Murray told the Roland Garros website. “They are probably feeling pretty good about their conditions and comfortable on the courts.”

Murray comes into Roland Garros with confidence and form on his side after winning the Rome Masters in his previous outing. The British number one overcame Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his second clay court Masters 1000 trophy.

The French Open is the only grand slam in which Murray has never made the final, but with his clear improvements on the clay over the past few years, this could be his best chance yet to change that stat.

 

The Brit has a good draw until the quarter finals and will look to get through his opening round match against Stepanek without any trouble.

The pair are due fourth on court Philippe Chatrier on Monday May 23rd.

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