Murray vs Wawrinka 09.06.17
French Open, Roland Garros, France, Clay Courts, ATP
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Men’s Semi Finals day at Roland Garros is fast approaching, and we are going to be all patriotic and concentrate on the match between British and world number 1, Andy Murray and the Swiss wold number 3, Stan Wawrinka.
These two are no strangers to one another, having met seventeen times before, Murray leads the head to head 11-6. Wawrinka has won two of their three meetings today on clay, however Murray beat the Swiss at this stage in last years French Open 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2. Murray also won their last match 6-4 6-2 at the World Tour Finals in London last year.
French Open Results So Far…
Murray beat Andrey Kuznetsov in Round 1, followed by a hard fought, four set victory against Martin Klizan in Round 2. The Brit then took on the big-hitting Martin Del Potro in Round 3, beating the Argentine 7-6 7-5 6-0. Round 4 was another straight sets victory for Murray, this time against the dangerous Karen Khachanov, 6-3 6-4 6-4. In the Quarter Final Murray faced Kei Nishikori, and despite dropping the first set, he found a way to dig deep and come through relatively comfortably, 2-6 6-1 7-6 6-1.
Wawrinka is yet to drop a set in this years tournament, and started his campaign by beating Jozef Kovalik comfortably in straight sets. Round 2 was a tricky encounter against the hyper-aggressive, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Wawrinka however took it in three tight sets, 6-4 7-6 7-5. Next up for Stan was the enigmatic and unpredictable Italian, Fabio Fognini, there were no heroics from the Italian though with the Swiss maestro dispatching him 7-6 6-0 6-2 in under two hours. Round 4 brought with it the home favourite, Gael Monfils, Stan again carried on his 100% set winning record, disappointing the home crowd by winning through 7-5 7-6 6-2. Stan’s Quarter Final opponent was the Croat, Marin Cilic, this looked a tough match on paper, however Wawrinka blew Cilic off the court 6-3 6-3 6-1, in a very impressive display of hitting.
Murray this tournament has won 67% of his service points and held serve 82% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 63% service points won and 76% service hold. The improvement in Murray’s serve, especially his second serve has gone under the radar a bit in this tournament. In the other clay court events this season, the Brits serve was a real burden, and at times was getting broken at will. Murray will need to keep good direction and depth on his second serve especially today, as Wawrinka will look to play very aggressively off that, given the chance.
Wawrinka this tournament has won 69% of his service points and held serve 90% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 64% service points won and 86% service hold. Wawrinka’s serve is a real weapon and his numbers speak for themselves. He will need to keep these high today though, as we know Murray will put a lot of returns back into play.
Murray this tournament has won 45% of his return points, 53% of his break points and opponents have held serve 60% of the time against him. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of, 43% return points won, 49% break points won and 67% opposition hold. Murray’s return game has always been probably his greatest facet, and this tournament has been no different. If he continues to return well today, he can look to get a foothold in the Swiss’ service games.
Wawrinka this tournament has won 41% of his return points, 52% of his break points and his opponents have held serve 68% of the time against him. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 39% return points won, 43% break points won and 71% opposition hold. Stan has also shown impressive numbers on the return of serve this week, and if Murray isn’t serving at his best Stan will certainly look to take advantage.
Murray will look to play a high-energy, counter-punching game, re-directing Stan’s pace and moving the Swiss around the court. Wawrinka will look to hit aggressive strokes off both wings, and his single-handed backhand is probably the best in the game. Expect less unforced errors from Murray, but far more winners from Wawrinka.
I actually think Murray can win this, but only if he serves well. He has a good record against Stan, should be handle the Swiss’ big serve, and his ability to defend stoutly could well be the difference. Wawrinka beats anyone on his day, and if he’s ‘on’ he can blast Murray off the court. I can’t see this being settled in straight sets, but i’m siding with Murray in four or five.
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