Following an exceptionally shaky start from Andy Murray in his opening round match in Acapulco, the British No. 1 is through to the second round, where he will face 44th ranked Joao Sousa, after the youngster defeated France’s Adrian Mannarino to set up his second meeting with Murray on the professional tour. Murray leads the head-to-head series 1-0, with a victory at last year’s Australian Open.
It was a worrisome start for the world No. 7, as he nearly lost the opening set to Pablo Andujar 6-0, before scrapping together a few games to ease the score to 6-3. It was the final blunder for Murray during the match, as he quickly regained form and stormed through the remaining two sets 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, losing only three games in the process. Having finished strong in his first appearance at the Mexican Open, Murray’s next opponent is Portugese youngster Joao Sousa.
Murray defeated Sousa at last year’s Australian Open, but the 26-year-old has insisted that the hard surface will make his opponent dangerous.
“He was new on the tour then and he has improved. He’s playing good tennis. He’s good on clay and on hard courts. He plays similar to Pablo. Hopefully I can play aggressively from the start,”
In comparison to his second round opponent, world No. 44 Joao Sousa also had a difficult start to his opening round contest against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, dropping the first set 6-1, before recovering for a strong 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 finish. Sousa, 5-7 on the ATP World Tour this season, took part in his best week to date at the inaugural Rio Open, where he lost in the quarter-final round to Rafael Nadal. He will be looking to recover from that loss with a victory over another top competitor in Andy Murray.
This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour. Murray leads the head-to-head series 1-0, with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory at last year’s Australian Open. Sousa’s best performances to date this season have come on the clay courts in Rio de Janeiro, which does not match the conditions in Acapulco. He only holds two hard court victories this season, No. 311 Semrajc and No. 87 Kamke, the closest of which ranks 80 spots below Murray. While Sousa is a tough and crafty competitor, if Murray compete with the form he possessed in the second and third set on Tuesday evening, he should manage a straight sets victory over the Portuguese youngster.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Straight Sets