Andy Murray will once more look to kick-start his season with a good run in Rome. The world No. 1 has found it tough to back up his amazing 2016, with a number of bad losses so far this year. Defending the title this year, he begins his tournament in the night session against Fabio Fognini. The Italian is sure to be backed by a raucous crowd who will do their best to will the home favourite to victory.
Murray was celebrating his birthday yesterday but will be wanting to celebrate a win instead as he looks to get into form coming into the French Open. The manner in which lucky loser Borna Coric defeated Murray last week in Madrid leaves a lot to be concerned about, even if the Croatian backed it up with a run to the semi finals. The conditions in Rome are far different to those in Madrid which requires a change up for Murray. “It’s much slower,” he said. “So it’s quite a different way of playing here. It’s more finding a way, I think, to adjust back to these conditions.”
Fognini remains as hard to predict as ever. After holding a 4 match losing streak going into Madrid, he took Rafael Nadal to the brink in their match there. Given the nature of Nadal’s victories throughout his unbeaten run, it’s fair to say this was an impressive performance even if he eventually lost 6-4 in the third.
“I have had some tough matches with him in the past, so it won’t be easy. I will definitely need to play well in that one to have a chance of winning.” Murray said of Fognini. The last time they met on clay, everything went right for Fognini who outplayed the Scot on his way to a straight sets victory in Davis Cup. Murray is lagging behind in the race rankings but still has a major lead in the main rankings, heading it up by 2500 points in the worst possible scenario.
Prediction: Andy Murray in straight sets