Andy Murray had high praise for Daniil Medvedev before their clash at the Miami Open presented by Itau. The top seed showed why on Saturday.

Medvedev dispatched Murray 6-4, 6-2 to reach the fourth round at the season’s second ATP Masters 1000 event and take a 2-0 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series. The 13-time tour-level titlist will next play Spaniard Pedro Martinez.

“I think it was a great match. It’s never easy, first-round matches, even if you practise on the same courts for one or two months, it’s never going to be the same as a competitive tournament match,” Medvedev said in his post-match interview. “So I’m happy that I managed to have zero break points against me. I feel like I have some room for improvement, but it was a great match against an amazing player and I’m happy that I managed to go through.”

Medvedev was the more aggressive player throughout, spending 24 per cent of the time playing offense versus Murray’s 18 per cent, as revealed by Tennis Data Innovation’s new analysis tool, Balance Of Power (learn more).

Balance of Power

It was a good start to the tournament for Medvedev, who must reach the semi-finals in Miami to retake the top spot in the ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic on 4 April. The 26-year-old climbed to World No. 1 on 28 February before relinquishing it on Monday following the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. 

Murray recently announced that Ivan Lendl would be rejoining his team, and the former World No. 1 was in the Scot’s box inside Hard Rock Stadium. The crowd was on Murray’s side, frequently cheering his impressive shots, especially on big points.

But Medvedev was too solid from the baseline and on serve for the wild card to overcome. He did not face a break point in his one-hour, 30-minute victory.

“On the days when you serve good, your opponent doesn’t have this freedom to return, it helps you,” Medvedev said. “[In the] second set, the scoreline was easier, it was much tougher in the beginning, but when your opponent knows you’re probably going to get some aces and it’s not going to be easy for him to return, he gets pressure on his serve and many times that is what happens in close matches.”

Murray did not necessarily do anything wrong in the match, but he was unable to step into the court often enough to displace the top seed from his comfort zone. Medvedev appeared full of confidence in neutral rallies and never appeared under stress against the two-time Miami champion.

“Every opportunity I had I tried to take it, to go for it,” Medvedev said. “And there were a lot of moments when I was happy about my game.”

Medvedev’s third-round clash with Martinez will be the pair’s second ATP Head2Head meeting. The World No. 2 won in straight sets at the 2020 Australian Open, but Martinez has since climbed to No. 47 in the ATP Rankings and picked up a first ATP title in Santiago in February. The Spaniard set the clash with Medvedev by beating 27th seed Cristian Garin 7-6(2), 6-2 earlier on Saturday to reach the third round in Miami for the first time.

[FOLLOW ACTION]

Defending champion Hubert Hurkacz got his title defence off to a solid start with a 7-6(5), 6-2 win over Arthur Rinderknech. Rinderknech had beaten Laslo Djere on his Miami debut on Thursday, but Hurkacz took control of the pair’s first tour-level meeting once he had clinched a tight first-set tie-break.

World No. 10 Hurkacz is attempting to become the first man to defend the Miami title since Novak Djokovic in 2016. Following second-round defeats for Murray and John Isner, the Pole is now the only former champion left in the draw.



Source link Blog