Stepanek vs. Murray
|Date & Time||Monday May 23, 2016, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
the Line: -- Over/Under:
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Andy Murray and Radek Stepanek square off in the first round of the 2016 French Open.
Andy Murray enters this tournament in terrific form as he won the Rome Masters and made the final of the Madrid Masters. Murray has won 12 of his last 14 singles matches and has made three final appearances already this season. Murray is clearly playing some of his best tennis in a while and is far more consistent with his service game. Murray is easily one of the favorites to win this title, especially after winning his last eight matches in straight sets. Murray hasn’t lost in the first round of a grand slam since the 2008 Australian Open. Murray has lost in the first round of the French Open once, which was back in 2006.
Radek Stepanek is coming off a straight sets win over Yoshihito Nishioka to qualify for the French Open. Stepanek has won nine of his last 12 matches when you include qualifying and does have a recent win over Vasek Pospisil in Madrid. Stepanek obviously isn’t the same player he was years ago, as he turns 38 at the end of the year, but he is somebody with 24 career wins over top-10 players and was a top-10 player himself 10 years ago. Stepanek can be a sneaky first round opponent if he’s able to limit his unforced errors and get off to a fast start. Stepanek has lost in the first round of a grand slam in five of his last nine appearances.
These two have played eight times in the past, ad Murray has won six of those matches. The most recent meeting was in this year's Madrid Masters, which Murray won in three sets. Stepanek’s two wins over Murray came in the 2014 Queen's Club Championships and 2009 Paris Masters. This is the third time the two will play on clay.
There’s a lot easier first round opponents than Stepanek. And while he could put up a fight early on, Murray is playing too well to fall for the trap. Murray is one of a handful of players who can give Djokovic a run for the title.
Murray wins in three sets.