British No. 1 Andy Murray will begin his French Open campaign on Tuesday afternoon, where he will face Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev. Murray has only played Golubev once in the past, winning 6-1, 6-1 at the 2008 St Petersburg Open.
The world No. 8 has not won a title since his historic run to the Wimbledon Championships title. His best performances this season have been quarter-final appearances in Melbourne, Miami and most recently Rome. He also reached the semi-final in Acapulco, where he lost to budding Bulgarian talent Grigor Dimitrov.
While the signs were not promising, Murray changed the tide during his time in Rome, as the Briton appeared stronger and fitter as he outplayed his opponents en route to a quarter-final match-up against Rafael Nadal. While many fans and pundits expected Murray to be steamrolled by the clay court king, he dominated the first set before losing it in a tight three-setter.
Murray is in the same portion of the draw as Stan Wawrinka, who he could face in the quarter-final and Rafael Nadal, who is a potential semi-final opponent.
Following his impressive performances against Switzerland in the Davis Cup, which include a four set victory over world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, Andrey Golubev has only managed four main draw wins on the ATP World Tour. He reached the third round in Barcelona, the second in Oeiras and Rome, but suffered a first round exit in Madrid to Nicolas Almagro. He is 8-10 overall this season.
This is the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional circuit. Murray won their last encounter back at the 2008 St. Petersburg Open 6-1, 6-1. Since then they met at the 2010 Hopman Cup, which Murray also won comfortably. This is the first time they will clash on clay, which will be vastly more intriguing considering Golubev’s Davis Cup achievement against Stan Wawrinka several months back. While the Kazakhstan native may trouble the Briton for a while, Murray should overcome the effort and advance in four sets.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Four Sets