Friday night sees the final round robin match of the World Tour Finals with Andy Murray set to take on Stanislas Wawrinka at the O2 Arena. Roger Federer awaits the winner of this match in the semi finals after coming top of the Stan Smith group.
After easing past David Ferrer in the opening rubber, Murray was comprehensively beaten in his second match by Rafael Nadal. Nadal, atop the group at 3-0, had a fairly easy time of it in the 6-4 6-1 victory breaking twice in both sets. He was especially efficient in the short second set, winning 10 of 16 points on return and converting on both break opportunities.
Wawrinka looked to have one foot out the door in his second rubber against David Ferrer after falling 2-5 down in the first set and facing set point. He would save that on his way to winning 11 of the next 13 as Ferrer faltered under the sustained pressure from the Swiss. One note of concern would be Wawrinka’s serving in the second set where he hit just 35% of his first serves. However, it didn’t prove too costly as he won all but 2 of the 15 points played on his second serve.
Both players were fairly poor in their losses against Rafael Nadal and will need to improve from there but it feels like Wawrinka has the current momentum after his comeback against Ferrer. The head-to-head has swung between Murray and Wawrinka with the current winning streak at 2 for the Swiss, the most recent victory coming in the 2013 US Open.
It seems fair to note that Murray’s back had been troubling him throughout the year and eventually cut short his season. However, there is no doubt that Wawrinka is a far improved player from their last meeting while Murray has put those injury woes behind him.
While many will see the upcoming Davis Cup final as a distraction for Murray, he is far too professional to lose this match on a lack of focus. More importantly, a victory can confirm the No.2 year end ranking which has implications beyond this week.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets