British No. 1 Andy Murray is back in action on the ATP tour, as he prepares for his first ever campaign in Acapulco this week. Murray’s first opponent at the event is Spain’s Pablo Andujar, whom he has never met on the professional tour. The two competitors previously met in the Spain Futures event back in 2005, yet their official head-to-head stands at 0-0.
Murray’s return to professional competition following minor back surgery last September has been a gradual uphill battle. The world No. 7 began his season with a second round exit in Doha, but managed to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne two weeks later. He followed up with two victories in Davis Cup competition at the beginning of the month and followed up with a quarter-final exit in Rotterdam, where he accepted a late wildcard entry. The Briton is usually at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this week, yet has decided to make his first appearance at the Acapulco event in Mexico, where the top seeds apart from himself are David Ferrer, John Isner and Grigor Dimitrov.
World No. 34 Pablo Andujar is coming off a fantastic week at the inaugural Rio Open. The Spaniard stormed past Tommy Robredo during he quarter-final stage, and held a set and a break advantage over Nadal, before ultimately losing in a third set tiebreaker to the world No. 1 in the semi-final. While Nadal was far from his best that evening, Andujar showed remarkable resilience to push Nadal to such limits on a clay court. Now, he will need to readjust himself to hard court competition, as his first opponent on court is second-seeded Andy Murray.
This is the first time that Murray and Andujar are expected to meet on the ATP World Tour. The two competitors previously met in the Spain Futures back in 2005, which Murray won in three sets. Since then, both competitors have risen to the Top 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and Murray has gone on to become a two-time Grand Slam champion, which places him as a significant favourite for tomorrow’s match-up. While Murray is still to regain his top form, he has shown signs of brilliance over the past few weeks and should have little trouble in dispatching of Andujar in their opening round match.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Straight Sets