Murray (finally) starts Barcelona against Lopez, Evans faces Thiem
By Ros Satar
- Andy Murray advanced into the third round of ATP Barcelona on a walkover
- Faces No. 16 seed Feliciano Lopez after a long wait to get more matches under his belt
- No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem faces Dan Evans in the third round.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Andy Murray has to wait a little longer to get more matches under his belt in Barcelona Open after advancing over Bernard Tomic with a walkover.
Andy Murray [1/WC] v Feliciano Lopez – H2H: Murray leads 10-0
Andy Murray took the wildcard into Barcelona to get more matches under his belt, and apart from a little sight-seeing and revisiting the Sanchez-Casal Academy where he honed his skills, he has been consigned to the practice courts.
Bernard Tomic won his match against the flamboyant Dustin Brown, but earned a lower back injury for his trouble, ensuring the World No. 1 coasted in the third round. It leaves him plenty to time to work his elbow back to full strength, but it remains to be seen if it leaves him a little less match-sharp than Feliciano Lopez.
The Spaniard has been on the dirt since the start of the season, making the quarter-finals in Houston but his year has left him devoid of many back to back wins either side of that.
He has only ever taken two sets off Murray and while their only clay encounter was tight, it was certainly way back in the day where Murray had not taken his time on the surface anywhere as seriously as he does now. Still the Brit is still match-shy, so this might be a tight one for Murray, so expect a bit of a roller-coaster.
Prediction: Murray in three sets.
Dominic Thiem  v Dan Evans – H2H: Evans leads 1-0
Not only has Dan Evans won a second match on clay, he goes into his round three match with Dominic Thiem with a lead in their head to head, having battled past the Austrian on his way to the Sydney final. It perhaps marks a turning point for Evans. He reached his first final at the start of the year, and has been playing nip and tuck with Edmund for the British No. 2 spot, as both try to kick on.
As with Edmund’s match though – it will be a tough ask for the Brummie lad as he goes up against a player whose first four ATP World Tour titles came on the clay, and he’s added three more since then. While Evans got the better of another player seemingly as allergic to the dirt as he claims to be, he has a chance to learn a lot about the game.
Thiem will look to play aggressively, which will suit Evans down to the ground, but the Austrian is likely to just be able to do things a little better.
Prediction: Thiem in two sets.
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