After defending Sony Open champion Andy Murray revealed the shocking split with coach Ivan Lendl on Wednesday afternoon, all eyes will be on the Briton as he campaigns to retain the Masters title he won last season. The first obstacle in Murray’s path is Australia’s Matthew Ebden, whom he holds a 1-0 Head to Head lead in the head-to-head series.
Following the two most successful years of his professional career under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, Murray will be put to the test this week in Miami, as he attempts to regain his title without the stone-faced Czech coach in his corner. Considering the impact Lendl has had on the world No. 6 – two Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal – Murray will be out to prove that he is capable to maintain that standard without his coach, particularly after his back surgery.
Murray is 14-5 so far this season, with his best performances being a quarter-final showing at the Australian Open and a semi-final appearance in Acapulco. He has not reached a single final so far this season, and is coming off a relatively disappointing fortnight at Indian Wells, where he lost to Milos Raonic in the fourth round.
World No. 67 Matthew Ebden booked his Friday match against the British No. 1 by ousting Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round in Miami. It was his third victory of the season and one he needed to work hard to earn. The Aussie is 3-7 so far this season and has been unable to string together back-to-back victories this season and will be looking to finally break that streak this week at the Sony Open.
This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour. Murray leads the series with a victory in Shanghai three years ago. This will likely be another comfortable victory for the Scot, who will be looking for an emphatic victory en route to the retaining his title.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Straight Sets