Andy Murray needs to win a set on Friday afternoon to ensure his place in the semi finals and with it continue to keep the No.1 ranking under his control. He will play Stan Wawrinka who needs to win to confirm his qualification, currently 1-1 in the John Mcenroe group.
Murray could have had it confirmed had he defeated Kei Nishikori in straights on Wednesday but failed to convert 3 set points in the opening set of his 6-7 6-4 6-4 victory over the Japanese. A 3hr20m match is far from ideal for Murray whose winning streak has meant he has played a whole lot of tennis in the past 2 months. He was feeling the effects but the round robin nature of the tournament helps out Murray in that regard.
“I was in the ice bath after the match. That obviously helps kind of make you feel a bit better. But, yeah, sort of 10, 12 hours afterwards the body starts to stiffen up. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be a bit sore. But it’s positive I get a day’s rest, a day’s recovery tomorrow” Murray said.
After putting up a stinker against Nishikori in his opening group match, it looked like Wawrinka was ready to end the season on a low note by possibly exiting this competition without a victory. However, he put in an accomplished performance to send Marin Cilic out of the competition with a victory in two tiebreak sets. It was a marked improvement from his first group match and will give the Swiss plenty of confidence when taking on the world No. 1.
“I think the level was really high. I’m happy with many things tonight: the way I was mentally on the court, the way I was moving. I think I was moving great. I had some good defense, some long rallies. I mixed a lot with my game in general” he said.
While Murray is 9-7 against Wawrinka in his career, they have only met twice in the past three years where Wawrinka has been seen as a legitimate slam contender. One of those was in London last year with Wawrinka’s straight sets win consigning Murray to an early exit from the tournament. Murray can avenge that loss here but is sensible enough not to strain himself in doing so once he is qualified.
Prediction: Andy Murray in straight sets