Day three at the Qatar ExonMobil Open will feature world no. 4 Andy Murray in an entertaining clash against Germany’s Florian Mayer. The two have previously met on three occasions, with Murray holing a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record.
The British no. 1 returned to action after four months away from professional competition, beginning with his double bagel victory over Qatari wildcard Mousa Shanan Zayed in the opening round of the Doha Open. It was a quick contest and far from competitive as the Brit secured the win in 37 minutes to advance to comfortably advance to the second round, where he will now meet Florian Mayer. While the opening round match was not exactly the perfect one to gauge Murray’s standard of play, he did appear to be light on his feet and only lost 17 points in the entire match.
World no. 40 Florian Mayer has had a turbulent year on the tour, where he started at no. 28, dropped to no. 50 before salvaging the season near the end to boost himself ten spots up the rankings. He reached the semi-finals of two ATP World Tour events last season and held a 1-10 record against top 10 competition. The German began his season with a hard-fought 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 victory over Michal Przysiezny to earn his second round contest against Murray. It was far from an easy though as the match lasted almost an hour and a half longer than Murray opening round match, which could hinder Mayer’s performance tomorrow afternoon.
While Murray may hold a perfect record against the German, this is by no means an easy match for the Brit. Less than four months removed from minor back surgery, these next few matches will be crucial in determining Murray’s capabilities on court and whether he is truly on the road to regaining his prior form. Until that becomes a certainty, Mayer has an opportunity to pressure Murray and force him out of his comfort zone early on and it will be intriguing to see if he manages to frustrate the Wimbledon champion.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Straight Sets