Andy Murray vs Richard Gasquet - Cincinnati Open - ATP 1000 - First Round - Preview and Prediction
Former World number 1 and three-time grand slam champion - Andy Murray is back to competitive men's singles tennis after more than 7 months.
His last match was a thrilling 5 set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open 2019. He takes on experienced Frenchman World number 56- Richard Gasquet tonight in the first round having received a wildcard from the organisers.
Life has come a full circle for Murray after his teary press conference in the Australian Open where he announced his retirement due to his failure to recover from a chronic hip injury that he was battling. The fact that he was playing with so much pain in his body affected his performances in top tournaments.
He had a successful hip resurfacing surgery and was lucky enough to start playing pain-free again. Murray teamed up with the veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez to play in the Fever-Tree Championships at Queens Club- a key warm-up grass-court event before the Wimbledon.
What followed was unexpected as Murray and Lopez went on to defeat experienced world-class doubles pairs like Cabal/Farah, Kontinen/Peers, Ram/ Salisbury to clinch the title. Murray was back to his best and the crowd went berserk after seeing his celebration after winning the match point.
He experimented with Brazil's Marcelo Melo in the Eastbourne championships only to lose their first match giving a perfect revenge win for the Columbian pair Cabal/Farah.
Murray partnered Frenchman Herbert for Wimbledon and they lost in four sets in the second round to Mektic/Skugor. He made a gamble in playing mixed doubles in Wimbledon with the American superstar- Serena Williams and they made good progress before losing in the pre-quarterfinals.
Andy Murray turned to his elder sibling- Jamie Murray for the Washington Open- ATP 500. The pair stunned Wimbledon runner-ups Mahut/Vasselin in three sets before losing to the third seeds Klaasen/Venus in the quarterfinals.
He resumed partnering Lopez for the Rogers Cup, they beat the experienced pair Kubot/Melo but succumbed to the French duo Chardy/Martin in the round of 16.
Murray has played Gasquet 11 times before and leads the head to head record with eight wins and three losses. Gasquet last beat Murray in the Rome open seven years back in 2012.
Murray has won his last six matches against Gasquet and holds a slighter edge going into this match since he is fully fit, perfectly healthy, confident and raring to go.
Both Murray and Gasquet have recovered from successful operations. Gasquet showed his experience when he defeated Paire and Nishikori in Rogers Cup before losing to Agut in straight sets.
He has recovered quite well from his hernia operation in January 2019 playing 11 tournaments after his comeback in the Madrid Open in May 2019. Both the players are mentally strong and can beat any opponent on their day if they give their best.
Murray and Gasquet will be proud of their mental strength to make comebacks to the game from tough situations that has seen them plunge down the rankings with Murray sitting at 325 while Gasquet is at 56 due to an injury protected ranking.
The Centre court in Cincinnati will be packed to full capacity with an electric atmosphere as die-hard fans will divide their support for the two players- 32-year-old Murray and 33-year-old Gasquet who are on a comeback to reclaim lost glory.
Prediction - Andy Murray to win in three sets.