Defending champion Andy Murray will be hoping for a less stressful time in his fourth round match on Monday afternoon against Benoit Paire. The World No.1 almost got dragged into a fifth set in the previous round but turned the match around just in time to avoid that. He plays second on Centre Court after the opener between Venus Williams and Ana Konjuh. Check out the Murray vs Paire Head to Head stats.
Even at the top of his game, Murray had the tendency to be dragged into long matches at slams when he was well on top. His 4 set win against Fabio Fognini was another that had that feel. Fognini looked like he might retire earlier in the match before some great tennis saw him take the advantage in the fourth set going 5-3 up but Murray eventually took the set without dropping another game. Murray had shown no sign of the hip injury that caused concern pre-tournament but suggested he felt a bit more after this match. “I didn’t feel like I moved as well as I did in the first two matches… I had no real rhythm after the first couple of matches. Then today from Fabio there were a lot more rallies from the back of the court and stuff. It’s partly down to the way he plays as well. I felt a little bit off balance. I didn’t feel like I moved particularly well tonight.” he said.
It will be only the second time the Paire has competed in a slam 4th round after the 2015 US Open. Paire’s inconsistency is pretty notable but his 3 wins so far saw the Frenchman in control for large parts, with the last round seeing a straight sets win over Jerzy Janowicz. He saved all 7 break points against the one time semi finalist and hit an astonishing 60 winners to just 21 unforced errors. He also displayed a high level of efficiency at the net in going 22/30 on points at the net. It was Paire’s second win of the grass season against Janowicz after beating the Pole in Stuttgart on his way to the semi finals.
Paire probably won’t be much of a threat to Murray but is playing good tennis right now and can nick a set if Murray is off. “I think I play for sure my best tennis. I think mentally I’m different this year. I want to play full all the match. I want to stay focused during all the match. I think that’s the big difference between 2013 and now. It’s now I stay focused and I stay calm.” he said of the changes in his game. Murray won the previous meeting in three sets, coming from a set down to win in Monte Carlo last year.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets