By Jake Davies

  • Andy Murray [1] defeats Gilles Simon 4-6 6-2 6-2
  • Murray will meet the towering John Isner in the Vienna Quarter-Finals
VIENNA, AUSTRIA – Andy Murray battled back from a set down to beat tough competitor Gilles Simon and set up a quarter-final clash with giant American John Isner.

 

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Andy Murray [1] defeats Gilles Simon 4-6 6-2 6-2

 

Murray fought back from a set down to beat Simon in an attritional battle on the Centre Court of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The match featured many twists and turns with countless changes of momentum but the World No.2 eventually prevailed in one of his biggest challenges of the year.

There were many long duels from the baseline as you would expect in a match featuring two players who favour covering the baseline from the beginning to the end of a point, but the match also had some lengthy exchanges around the net to the approval of the watching crowd.

After being a break down in the opening game, Simon really took advantage of the inconsistencies in Murray’s level. In long periods of the match, the Brit really did not defend his second serve as well as he could have and will have to in the latter stages of this competition. Many argue that the second serve is one of his biggest weaknesses and it remains one of the problematic features that could prevent him from adding to his collection of three Grand Slam titles. The Frenchman took the first set 6-4. He won most of the elongated battles from the baseline and surprisingly covered the net perfectly in phases of this match.

 

Murray became increasingly agitated. He was screaming to his player box as he looked for answers and solutions to the questions that Simon was putting forward. The problem with the Brit’s second serve when it is not clicking like it should is that it affects other areas of his game. A potent second serve gives him the ability to step inside the court and rip forehands and backhands to the annoyance of his opponents. However, when Murray is not feeling great about the shot, it really does lead to many over-riding issues in competitive match-play.

The World No.2 saved six break points in a fourteen-minute game, which led to him levelling the match at 6-2, and although Simon gave him a serious test, it looked ominous as Murray grew into the match and started to improve his serving statistics. Murray eventually came through with another 6-2 set and asserted his superiority in the decisive set in Vienna.

These types of matches that truly take a lot out of the elite tennis players are the kind of matches that Murray would be relieved to get through especially with the World No.1 ranking firmly on the line in the concluding weeks. Murray will also be satisfied that his next opponent – big-serving American John Isner – presents less of a physical challenge for him.

 

Andy Murray [1] vs John Isner H2H: Murray leads 6-0

 

Isner’s head-to-head record against Murray is hopeless. He is yet to get a single victory on the ATP tour in six matches against the Briton. That is what makes these matches so challenging for the lesser-ranked players. Many struggle to beat the elite players in regular ATP matches, but it becomes an even greater proposition when we reach the business end of these tough ATP tournaments, where the top players rarely give anything away to their opponents.

Murray enjoys battles against big-servers. These matches are great to watch as a tennis fan as you get to witness a strong server collide with a strong returner and discover which player comes out on top in that particular mini-contest. Murray likes to see how his return game matches up with the very best servers and will welcome the shorter, quick-fire points against Isner after the near three-hour match with Simon.

The winless and joyless H2H record of Isner should continue in tomorrow’s Quarter-Final. It is hard to see Murray letting up on his obsession with becoming World No.1 before the conclusion of his career.

Prediction: Murray in straight sets

 

Murray v Isner is scheduled fourth on Centre Court in Vienna tomorrow. It will not start earlier than 6pm UK time.

 

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