Murray made to work for Doha QF spot

 

By Jake Davies

  • Sir Andy Murray [1] defeats Gerald Melzer 7-6 (6) 7-5
  • Murray plays Spain’s Nicolas Almagro in the Doha Quarter-Finals
DOHA, QATAR – A mouthwatering match up between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic still looks on the cards as both are just two wins away from meeting in the final of the tournament in Doha.

 

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Andy Murray [1] defeats Gerald Melzer 7-6 (6) 7-5

Andy Murray extends his unbeaten run to 26 wins with a tough two sets win over Austria’s Gerald Melzer. The World No.68 put on a great performance to hang tough with one of the elites in the sport and really made Murray work for the win, particularly in the first set.

Melzer saved a total of eight set points in the first set, but eventually Murray prevailed in the tiebreak. In the second set, Murray served for the match at *5-4, got broken, but won the next two games to seal the victory in the second round contest with Melzer.

Can anyone beat Murray in the build up to the Australian Open? He has now made at least the Quarter-Finals of a tournament in his last 15 events dating back to Miami last year. His consistency and elevated level of play inside the last twelve months in particular, suggest that it would take a extraordinary performance from one of the very best to halt the momentum that the Brit has garnered in that period.

 

Andy Murray [1] vs Nicolas Almagro H2H: 4-1 Murray

When we talk about the great Spanish clay court players inside this side of the millennium, Nicolas Almagro is often a name that gets forgotten. Many people forget that he is a former Top 10 player, won 13 titles on the ATP tour and played in a Davis Cup final back in 2012. Almagro comes with a lot of pedigree, which makes him a dangerous opponent for any of the top guns in the men’s game.

The Spaniard, who was as high as No.9 in the world in 2011, has not had the best of luck in recent years. He had to undergo foot surgery in the middle of 2014, which subsequently led to his considerable dip in the rankings and ever since Almagro has been trying to find his way to the Top 10 once again.

This match against Murray would be an ever greater prospect on the clay courts, but Almagro is an offensive baseliner, so will try his best to penetrate through the Doha hard courts. The Spaniard also is not too dissimilar to the Brit in the way he presents himself on a tennis court. He lives on the edge of his emotions, but also can get under the skin of his opponents with his on-court behaviour as we have seen in the past.

Despite Almagro preferring the red clay, he can still be a challenging opponent on the hard courts, but Murray is one of the greatest in the game at mastering the movement on a hard court and I expect the World No. 1 to win in a close two sets match.

Prediction: Murray in two sets.

 

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