By Ros Satar
- Andy Murray  def. Denis Istomin 6-3 7-5
- Roberto Bautista Agut def. Aljaz Bedene 7-5 2-2 ret.
- Rajeev Ram/Raven Klaasen def. Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares  3-6 6-3 10-7
MIAMI, USA – Andy Murray advanced in the Miami Open, joining women’s British Nos. 1 & 2 Johanna Konta and Heather Watson, but his brother Jamie lost in opening doubles round, while Aljaz Bedene retired with wrist pain.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
Murray (the younger) was playing the final day session on a day which saw Rafael Nadal suffer from the intense heat of the day, as he opened his campaign after a ling gap following an early exit from Indian Wells.
He started well enough, breaking Istomin in the very first game of the match, and putting him under pressure, forcing him to save four more break points, before he broke him for the first set. But the match was not without incident when Murray served and was broken in the second set before discovering that a rogue women’s ball had found its way to the match set.
He explained, as reported by the BBC, after the match: “The women’s balls are very different from the men’s balls. They’re much quicker, smaller, livelier, and when you’re just about to serve at break point down, you don’t want to be using a completely different ball. So I was just a bit frustrated with that.”
He broke straight back and once more broke Istomin at the end of the set for a straight sets win in a little over one and a half hours.
There was less good news for the men’s British No. 2 Bedene, whose bad week after losing his ITF appeal to represent Great Britain in the Davis Cup failed. He had to retire in the second set after being edged in the first by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, with wrist pain.
He said to the BBC after the match: “It’s just consistent pain in the wrist. It’s been going on for 10 days now. Obviously the mental part has a lot to do with it. I’m hoping all this nonsense I went through had something to do with the wrist.”
Jamie Murray was poised to snare the doubles No. 1 spot having been edged out in the Indian Wells quarter-finals last week. He still has a chance if other results go his way, after he and partner Bruno Soares started well with the first set, but lost the second and were pipped in the match tie-break.
Andy Murray  v Grigor Dimitrov  – H2H: Murray leads 6-2
Searching for his first back to back tour level wins since the Australian Open, Murray’s two lossed to the Bulgarian came in the year he was still etting back to form after back surgery, losing to Dimitrov in the Wimbledon quarter-final, and in Acapulco. Since then though it has been one way traffic for the Brit, although not without some battles.
Dimitrov pushed him to four sets last year at the Australian Open, and they had a tight three-setter at the Cincinnati Masters last year. Dimitrov is perhaps the biggest disappointment from the so-called ‘Lost Generation’. With Milos Raonic now emerging from that chasing pack, with the ATP’s Next Generation snapping at their heels, Dimitrov has slipped from contention, and is in danger of being a bit of an also-ran.
Now working with Juan Martin Del Potro’s former coach Franco Davin after his split with Roger Rasheed, he was upset by Alexander Zverev in his Indian Wells opener but has shown some signs of a form comeback with runs to the Delray Beach semi-final and the Acapulco quarter-final.
It is not as though Dimitrov lacks weapons and form – he is a good all-courter but probably prefers to camp on the baseline and certainly under Rasheed his stamina and fitness improved.
He has the capability to push Murray to three sets but on a surface and in a court where Murray feels particular comfortable, we expect the Brit to advance.
Prediction: Murray in three sets.
Play continues at the Miami Open at 11am (4pm BST).
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