Fixture: Andy Murray vs Fernando Verdasco
Date: 13 October 2020
Tournament: Bett1Hulks Indoors 2020
Round: First round
Venue: Cologne, Germany
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: €325,610
Match timing: Approx. 7.30 pm CEST, 11 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Andy Murray vs Fernando Verdasco preview
Andy Murray looks to continue his return to the forefront of men's tennis as he faces familiar foe Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the ATP 250 event in Cologne on Tuesday.
Since his return from hip replacement surgery, Murray has made serious strides at best-of-three-sets events. He won his first title in two years at Antwerp last year, and the good work has continued since the lockdown.
The three-time Grand Slam champion may have bowed out in an underwhelming first-round loss to Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros, but he did reach the third round at the Cincinnati Masters. He even beat his first top 10 player - Alexander Zverev - since 2017 there. Suffice to say the 33-year-old is no pushover in tour level matches.
Murray's first-round opponent in Cologne, Spain's Fernando Verdasco, is a veteran of the sport. But just like the Scot, Verdasco has also faced injury and fitness concerns in recent times.
The 36-year-old has been out of action for a large part of the year, with a first-round defeat in Rome against Damir Dzumhur being his only professional match in nearly eight months.
Verdasco has been fighting issues off the court as well, having tested positive for COVID-19 and being disqualified from the French Open. The Spaniard later revealed that he took a test on his own and tested negative, claiming unfair treatment by the administrators at Roland Garros and even threatening legal action at one point.
The 36-year-old comes into Cologne in desperate need of some good results, so that he can put his troubles on and off the court behind him.
Andy Murray vs Fernando Verdasco head-to-head
Being veterans of the ATP Tour, the first round encounter in Cologne is the 17th between the two players. Not surprisingly, Andy Murray leads the head-to-head 13-3 over Fernando Verdasco.
However, two of Verdasco's three wins against Murray came in their last two meetings in 2018 - at Shenzhen and the US Open.
Murray otherwise has a commanding lead over Verdasco, and has looked very comfortable for most of the time the pair have spent together on court. The Brit also leads the indoor hardcourt head-to-head 5-0.
Andy Murray vs Fernando Verdasco prediction
Admittedly, this match does not have the kind of importance that some of their previous matches, when both Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco were close to the summit of men's tennis, did. It could still, however, feature plenty of spectacular shot-making and intrigue.
As seen in Rome, big question marks still remain over Verdasco's fitness levels. Murray, on the other hand, has shown over the past few months that he can take the game to even the best players in the world.
Murray's superior serve and backhand could be crucial on the quick indoor hardcourts. Verdasco himself has a strong forehand, but his topspin-heavy game is unlikely to hurt Murray much unless the Scot suffers a mental collapse.
Prediction: Andy Murray to win in straight sets.Published 12 Oct 2020, 01:32 IST