Andy Murray continues his quest to return to the top on Day 3 of the US Open, facing Fernando Verdasco on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It’s a match up Murray has long dominated, with 13 wins out of 15 dating back to their first meeting in a 2003 Challenger.
Verdasco’s best runs in New York came at the turn of the decade, where he made back to back quarter finals in 09 and 10. Since then, he has struggled and not made the third round since 2012. He was solid in his straight sets win over Feliciano Lopez in round one, saving 10 of 12 break points while converting an excellent 6 of his 8 own chances.
In his first 5 setter for over a year, Murray looked as rusty as you’d expect in the 6-7 6-3 7-5 6-3 win over James Duckworth. It was mostly comfortable after the opening set tiebreak loss for him but the fourth set did get messy as the pair traded breaks on multiple occasions. Murray had played down his chances for the tournament previously so this performance was no surprise for the former No. 1. “At points in the match I didn’t play amazing. I’m not expecting to play my best tennis right now. I’m happy to get through the match.” he said afterwards.
“The positive was that actually towards the end of the match, I made some quite good moves,” Murray added. “I maintained my serving speeds throughout the match, as well.”
With his 2018 losses all coming to top 30 players, a Verdasco on the cusp should provide a good measurement of Murray’s current level. Should he advance, likely third round opponent Juan Martin Del Potro seems a bridge too far at this early stage.
Prediction – Andy Murray in four sets
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