Andy Murray can move one step closer to his first Australian Open title on Sunday with a victory over Mischa Zverev in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. The World No.1 remains the odds-on favourite for the tournament after the gift of Novak Djokovic’s exit.
As he so often does against similar players, Murray handled the big serve of Sam Querrey with ease in his 6-4 6-2 6-4 victory. Winning an impressive 45% of points on return, Murray broke the American five times to just once for Querrey. Once saving a break point midway through the first set, Murray took control and rarely relented. “When I saved that and broke the next game, momentum was with me. Started to serve a bit better, put a lot more returns back in play after that. Played some good stuff.” he said.
Zverev is a throwback to old school serve and volleyers, having a career renaissance as he nears the age of 30. He is projected to pass his career high ranking of 45 after this tournament, a mark set in 2009. He showed promise last year taking sets from Djokovic and Cilic in losses as well as earning a win over Wawrinka in Basel. Zverev’s route to the last 16 has been far from deadly for an unseeded player but he was impressive in round two, saving match point to beat John Isner 9-7 in the final set.
Zverev should be a perfect matchup for Murray, who should have the German figured out fairly well once he gets into it on the return. “He’s serve-volleying, coming forward as much as possible, not with the most powerful game. He doesn’t serve, like, 220 kilometers an hour. He serves 185s, 190s, but places it well.” Murray said of Zverev. The pair were on the junior tour together with their most notable meeting coming at the US Open in 2004 where Murray won the title after beating Zverev in the semis and Sergiy Stakhovsky in the final.
The route to the final for Murray may be much tougher than the man who progresses in the bottom half of the draw but Zverev should be a nice gift for Murray before tougher matches in week two that could include Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Andy Murray to win in straight sets