By Britwatch Team
- Andy Murray vs Mikahil Kukushkin preview
- Head to head: 3-0
- Aljaz Bedene knocked out by Stephane Robert in round one
ROME, ITALY- Andy Murray will face Mikhail Kukushkin in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Wednesday.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
The Brit is playing his first match since announcing the split from his coach Amelie Mauresmo on Tuesday. The Frenchwoman was in the Murray corner for two years until the pair mutually decided to part ways.
The world number three cited a lack of time together being the main reason for the split with Mauresmo, who gave birth to her first child last year. However, despite them parting ways, Murray thinks their time together was a success.
“It did work,” said Murray via Sky Sports. “For two years, the results that we had were good.
“Unless I win a Grand Slam, then maybe ultimately that’s how people may judge whether it worked or not but, when she first came into the team, I was really struggling.
“For me, the time we spent together was positive. It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to win one of the major events, because that’s what both of us wanted.
“When she came on board, my results actually really picked up.”
The Scot will look for a replacement as soon as he can, but for the meantime he must focus on the Italian Open in Rome. Murray will begin his campaign on Wednesday against Kazakhstan’s Kukushkin.
The British number one recently made the finals of the Madrid Open where he lost to Novak Djokovic, so heads into the Italian capital in good form. Kukushkin on the other hand failed to qualify for Madrid, but he notched up an impressive win over Borna Coric in the first round.
Murray has met Kukushkin three times in the past and has only ever dropped one set. Their most recent outing was at Wimbledon in 2015 where Murray came through in straight sets. This is to be their first meeting on clay.
The Kazakh can be a dangerous player when firing, but clay has never been his preferred surface. Murray will be hoping to not expands too much energy when the pair step onto court at 13:00 BST time on Wednesday.
Bedene’s bad form continues
After coming through qualification, Aljaz Bedene is now out of the Italian Open after a straight sets defeat to Stephane Robert.
The Frenchman, who describes his style as ‘Casino Tennis’ was able to come through in two tiebreak sets to set up a second round clash against Djokovic on Wednesday.
The Brit went down an early break in the opening set, but fought back to take it to a tiebreak. From there the Frenchman took control and took the tiebreak 7-3.
The momentum carried into the second set where Robert was able to rack up the first four games with a double break. However the unpredictable nature of his game allowed Bedene back into the match, and after failing to serve the match out it went to another tiebreak. The Brit earned four set points in the breaker but was unable to convert. Robert took the first match point opportunity to take the tiebreak 10-8 and claim victory.
Bedene’s recent poor form has seen his ranking slip to 69 in the world. If this continues, he could soon be passed by Kyle Edmund and possibly Dan Evans.
Murray will face Kukushkin at 13:00 BST on Wednesday.
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