Indian Wells 2021: Alexander Zverev vs Andy Murray preview, head-to-head & prediction | BNP Paribas Open

Alexander Zverev in action against Jenson Brooksby
Alexander Zverev in action against Jenson Brooksby

Match details

Fixture: (3) Alexander Zverev vs (WC) Andy Murray

Date: 12 October 2021

Tournament: BNP Paribas Open

Round: Third round (Round of 32)

Venue: Indian Wells, USA

Category: ATP 1000

Surface: Hardcourt

Prize money: $8,761,725

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK - Amazon Prime Video

Alexander Zverev vs Andy Murray preview

Third seed Alexander Zverev will take on three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in the third round of the 2021 Indian Wells Masters.

Zverev and Murray both ousted rising stars in their respective second-round matches. While the German accounted for Jenson Brooksby, Murray upset US Open breakout star Carlos Alcaraz.

Zverev was made to work for his win though; the 24-year-old needed nearly two hours to get past Brooksby. Zverev managed to win a relatively low 73% of his first-serve points, which is a far cry from his usual lofty figures.

Brooksby broke serve twice during the course of the match but lost his own serve four times, which proved to be the decisive factor. Zverev also racked up 28 winners, which was 11 more than the American's final tally. That said, the reigning Cincinnati champion did cough up as many as 35 unforced errors.

Brooksby committed 14 fewer errors, but the fact that he couldn't hit past the German with frequency cost him the match.

Andy Murray, meanwhile, came from a set down to knock out Carlos Alcaraz. Murray won 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to make it to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open for the ninth time in his career.

Alcaraz outhit Murray from the baseline for large parts of the match, racking up 36 winners to the Scot's 18. However, Murray committed 13 fewer unforced errors than the Spaniard.

The three-time Major champion even took a page out of the Nick Kyrgios playbood midway through the match. In a bid to take advantage of the fact that Alcaraz was camped well behind the baseline on the return, Murray unfurled an under-arm serve in the second set - which ended up being an ace.

Alexander Zverev vs Andy Murray head-to-head

Andy Murray has only dropped one set in two meetings against the German
Andy Murray has only dropped one set in two meetings against the German

Andy Murray leads Alexander Zverev by a margin of 2-0 in the head-to-head. Murray defeated Zverev for the first time in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open, winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 on that day.

Murray also beat the German at the Cincinnati Masters last year, winning 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Alexander Zverev vs Andy Murray prediction

Alexander Zverev enters this match as the favorite, like he is in most matches he plays these days. But Andy Murray cannot be counted out, especially in light of the resilience and defense he displayed against Carlos Alcaraz.

The three-time Major champion is still one of the best returners on tour, even if he is nowhere close to what he used to be during his peak years. As such, Zverev is likely to face a tough time in his service games.

The German will also need to cut down on his unforced errors. Murray's resolute defense could make it tough for Zverev to find winners regularly.

This has all the makings of a close contest, and could well go the distance. But we are backing Zverev to win this one because of the form he has displayed on hardcourts in recent months.

Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in three sets.

Tournament best two-handed backhand and fastest serve Sascha ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ
Edited by Musab Abid
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