By Jake Davies
- Andy Murray  defeats Andreas Seppi 6-2 7-5
- Murray continues quest for the World No.1 ranking
- The British No.1 next faces Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round
BEIJING, CHINA – Top seed Andy Murray joined compatriot Kyle Edmund in the second round of the China Open in Beijing
Andy Murray  defeats Andreas Seppi 6-2 7-5
Murray stretched his winning streak against Italy’s Seppi to eight as he came out on top in a comfortable straight sets victory in their Beijing opener. The Briton’s only real blip came in the second set, where he fell down an early break to the Italian before he subsequently found his rhythm again by winning in two sets.
Murray dictated authoritatively with his first serve, having held a perfect record in an unblemished first set of tennis. The most pleasing stat for Murray would be how secure his second serve over the course of this match against Seppi. At the US Open, we saw Kei Nishikori bully Murray’s second serve with regularity, so it was important for the Briton to reestablish the heavy improvements he’s made with that particular shot.
The top players in the world are so good because they give very little away to the rest of the field, but if there is one aspect of Murray’s game that can be vulnerable, and has been vulnerable over the years it’s his second serve.
Seppi struggled with his own consistency on serve as Murray took advantage of the number of second serves he was seeing in this encounter. When playing someone who returns as well as Murray, it’s important to keep your first serve percentage extremely high in order to keep the pressure off the delivery of the second serve. The Italian gave Murray plenty of openings which enabled Murray to dictate the beginning of the points and rallies with effect.
It turned out to be a pleasing performance from Murray who sends an emphatic message to Novak Djokovic who currently sits at the top of the field as the World No.1. This is the most vulnerable that Djokovic has been in quite some time as he recovers from an accumulation of injuries, so Murray’s motivation in the coming months surely has to be achieving one of the greatest goals in this sport – becoming a World No.1 in his profession.
Andy Murray  vs Andrey Kuznetsov H2H: Murray leads 1-0
Murray’s second round opponent in Beijing is Russian player Kuznetsov. The 25-year-old had a decorated juniors career – one of the best junior records possible – but remains an unsteady player on the ATP tour. Kuznetsov has picked up some notable, impressive scalps over the course of his senior career but lacks the consistency to trouble the elite players on a regular basis – that has been one of his major flaws throughout his development.
Kuznetsov, who is a former Wimbledon junior champion, beat David Ferrer at the 2014 Wimbledon in one of his biggest victories, and he also should have beaten Rafael Nadal in Doha this year, which would have been another impressive Top 10 victory for the Russian.
Murray, a student of the game, will be aware of Kuznetsov’s strengths and limitations. Kuznetsov can produce moments of magic on a tennis court, but lacks the required consistency to better Murray in a Best of 3 sets match.
Prediction: Murray in two sets
Kyle Edmund vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez H2H: Garcia-Lopez leads 1-0
Edmund, who qualified for the main draw through a victory over Evgeny Donskoy, will now play experienced Spaniard Garcia-Lopez. Although Garcia Lopez is more familiar with a clay court, including beating Stan Wawrinka at the French Open, he also acquits himself nicely on a hard court. The Spaniard has a fearful one-handed backhand that can really strike through the tennis court when he is feeling great about his tennis.
Prediction: Garcia-Lopez in two sets.
Edmund is scheduled on court not before 2pm (7am BST), and Murray not before 7:30pm (12:30pm BST).
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