Andy Murray vs Dominic Thiem - China Open - Quarter-Finals - Preview and Prediction
The former World number 1 Andy Murray takes on the top seed Dominic Thiem in a gripping quarter-final encounter in the China Open today.
Constant hip pain has hampered the Brit's progress and it has been a start-stop situation for him in the last two years.
He started the year with a heartbreaking five-set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open. Murray had to undergo a hip surfacing surgery in January that led to him missing five months of action.
The quote "Form is temporary but Class is permanent" is apt for Murray as he roared back into competitive tennis clinching the Queen's Club Championships partnering Feliciano Lopez. He continued playing doubles in Eastbourne, Wimbledon, Rogers Cup, and Cincinnati Open to be fit fit enough to play in singles.
The three-time grand slam champion has shown his fighting spirit in the two wins so far. Murray who is ranked a lowly World no. 503, also stunned the World number 13, Matteo Berrettini in the round of 32.
On the other hand, Dominic Thiem has had both good times and bad times this year. The Austrian had a lot of success this year winning three tournaments namely Indian Wells, Barcelona, and the Kitzbuhel Open. He also finished as the runner-up in the French Open for the second time in a row.
Thiem exited early in the remaining three grand slams, Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. He also suffered a shocking loss to the World number 163, Emil Ruusuvuori in the Davis Cup. Thiem did a smart move to play in the star-studded Laver Cup. A relaxed and fun environment in an electric atmosphere in Geneva, helped Thiem relax, and now he is raring to go again..
The World number Five has been in great touch in this tournament defeating both Richard Gasquet and Zhang Zhizhen in straight sets.
Things to watch out in this match
- Murray will be playing his first top 10 opponent in two years
- The head to head record is slightly skewed in favour of Murray as he leads 2-1 with Thiem's only win coming in Barcelona Open 2017
- All their matches so far have been decided only in the third set.
"It is something very special to face a legend in our sport. I’m really happy and it is going to be a tough challenge, " said Thiem praising Murray ahead of the much-awaited encounter.
It will be a battle between Thiem's attacking game versus Murray's reliable defence. Both the players will look to give their best today as they battle form, fitness and expectations.
Murray's appeal for more crowds in Beijing may attract more fans to buy tickets to see a clash between two superstars of the game.
Prediction - Andy Murray to win in three sets.
Cover Image Credits - Getty Images