British No. 1 Andy Murray began his campaign for a third Rogers Cup title with strong victory over surging Aussie youngster Nick Kyrgios. It was an important win for the Scot, who will need all the momentum he can possibly muster to encourage a deep run into the Toronto draw. His next opponent will be France’s Richard Gasquet, whom he has faced on nine previous occasions on the professional tour. The Murray vs Gasquet head-to-head stands at 5-4.
Although Kyrgios attempted to take command of the match with strong serving and a powerful groundstrokes, he was unable to match the Britishickly broke to take the lead and then once again soon afterwards to close out the opening set 6-2.
Kyrgios would serve slightly better to open up the second set but was once again broken in the fifth game to give Murray the 3-2 lead. Murray would find another break of serve and then close out the match with several perfectly placed winners.
It was an entirely dominant display from Murray, who struck 7 aces, won 96% of his first serve points and faced no break point en route to his 6-2, 6-2 win in 55 minutes.
“I thought I did most things like pretty solid,” said Murray. “I didn’t make too many errors. I moved well. High first serve percentage. It was a solid match for a first match back after sort of four and a half, five weeks. I was happy.”
Following his 7-5, 7-5 victory over Vasek Pospisil in the opening round of the tournament, Richard Gasquet followed up with another hard-fought victory, this time against towering Croat Ivo Karlovic. After losing the first set 7-5, Gasquet polished up his games, decreased his error count and rebounded with a second set tiebreak and a 6-3 in the third set to round off the win in 1 hour and 56 minutes.
After dropping serve to lose the opening set, Gasquet did not face another break point after that and was able to comfortably hold serve against Karlovic, while simultaneously stealing three break advantages of his own.
This marks the tenth time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Murray leading the head-to-head series 5-4, including the last two consecutive wins at the 2013 Miami Masters and the 2012 French Open. Gasquet does lead the hard court series 3-1 but has not beaten Murray on that particular surface in over five years, which does not bode well for his chances against the Brit.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Straight Sets