• Andy Murray [WC] def. Robin Haase [WC] 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-3
  • Andy Murray [WC]  v Andrey Rublev [4] | Murray leads H2H 1-0
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – Andy Murray pulled off a spectacular comeback to reach the last sixteen, defeating Robin Haase, to set up a clash with No. 4 seed Andrey Rublev.

 

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Andy Murray [WC] def. Robin Haase 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-3

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Andy Murray defied the odds to scrape through his first round encounter in Rotterdam. The 33-year-old looked eager to get off to a fast start and created two break point opportunities in his first return game, only for Robin Haase to save both chances. The Dutchman broke Murray in the very next game, producing some spectacular tennis in the process. Haase forced another break of serve and was dominating most of the cat-and-mouse exchanges as he raced to a one set lead. Murray was only able to win 50% of point behind his first serve.

The second set saw the Brit tidy up his game as he hit the ball more far more cleanly than he did in the first. The former World No. 1 looked to take the initiative whenever possible in the rallies, although Haase was maintaining the high level he started the match with. Neither player managed to break their opponents serve as they headed to an inevitable tiebreak. Murray’s aggression proved vital, dominating the breaker to force a third and decisive set.

The Dutchman broke the Brit in the very first game of the decider as he looked to build some much-needed momentum. A stunning backhand passing shot from Murray saw the former world no. 1 get the break back in the fifth game. From 3-1 down, Murray won five games on the bounce to record yet another comeback victory in his illustrious career. The forehand really stood out for the 3-time Grand Slam champion, hitting 19 of his 33 winners on that wing. A healthy 66% of first serves landed also contributed to his heroic win.

 

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Andy Murray [WC] v Andrey Rublev [4] | Murray leads H2H 1-0

Andy Murray [WC] v Andrey Rublev [4] H2H: Murray leads 1-0
ATP Rotterdam R2 Rotterdam, Amsterdam
Hard (I) €20,000
First night match scheduled not before 7:30pm

(6:30pm GMT)

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Murray will face the fourth seed, Andrey Rublev, in the last sixteen. The Russian continued his fine start to 2021 with a straight sets victory over Marcos Giron. Rublev has been one of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour of late as he has won nine of his ten matches this season – his only loss coming to Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

 

Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2021)

H2H: Andy Murray [WC] (WR: 123) Andrey Rublev [4] (WR: 8)
Tournament Previous Best Champion (2009) Quarter-finals (2018, 2020)
1st Serve % 52 57
Service Games Won % 67 90
Break Points Saved % 40 68
2nd Serve Return Points Won % 43 55
Break Points Converted % 50 44

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Playing Styles

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Rublev plays an extremely aggressive baseline game, helped by his forehand which is considered one of the best in the world. The 23-year-old looks dominate his points by taking the ball early and making his opponents run, mostly finishing off with his forehand.

He is also blessed with a strong serve and rock solid backhand which makes him very difficult to break down. Rublev also covers the court exceptionally well and looks to have a really complete baseline game, so Murray will definitely have his work cut out. The World No. 8 feels most at home on hard courts, having won five of his seven titles on the surface.

Murray will need to play close to the level he sustained in the second and third sets against Haase – if not better – if he is to record his first top 10 victory since last years’ Cincinnati Masters. He will need to use his forehand to dominate points before Rublev gets the chance, which may involve taking risks off his return.The Brit can expect to do a lot of defending, although this wouldn’t phase him too much.

 

Prediction

The pair last met at the 2017 Australian Open – when Murray was the top seed and Rublev was a qualifier. The Brit won emphatically on that occasion but times are completely different now. The former World No. 1 showed us glimpses of brilliance in his first round against Haase and we can expect to see a few more flashes against Rublev. However, the Russian is a different beast, sitting at a career-high ranking of no. 8. Murray will test the 23-year-old, but Rublev should come through relatively safely.

Prediction: Rublev in straight sets.

 

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