Date: 22 August 2021
Tournament: 2021 Winston-Salem Open
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Winston-Salem, United States
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $717,955
Match timing: Not before 7 pm local time, 11 pm GMT, 4.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Andy Murray vs Nick Kyrgios preview
The 2021 Winston-Salem Open draw has thrown up a blockbuster first-round clash between two of the most popular players in the tennis world - Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios.
Murray comes into this event on the back of a decent showing at the Cincinnati Masters. The Scot beat Richard Gasquet in the first round in straight sets before giving a tough fight to Hubert Hurkacz, who eventually won 7-6(4), 6-3.
While Murray was still not quite at his best, he did display some spectacular defense in both matches. The 34-year-old showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the shorter format of the game, even though he plays with a metal hip and is half the player he once used to be.
After his loss to Hurkacz, Murray stated that while he was physically fine, he did feel the heat in some of the longer rallies.
Nick Kyrgios, meanwhile, heads into this fixture on a three-match losing streak. The Aussie has lost consecutive matches to Cameron Norrie (Atlanta), Mackenzie McDonald (Washington) and Reilly Opelka (Toronto).
In fact, Kyrgios managed to win just one set combined in these three encounters. Despite his mammoth serve being in good touch, the 26-year-old has struggled in all other departments of the game lately.
Andy Murray vs Nick Kyrgios head-to-head
Andy Murray leads Nick Kyrgios by a margin of 5-1 in the head-to-head. However, all of Murray's wins against the Aussie have come in or before 2016.
Kyrgios' only win against the Brit came at the Queen's Club Championships in 2018.
Andy Murray vs Nick Kyrgios prediction
Nick Kyrgios has one of the best serves in the history of the sport, but his return game leaves a lot to be desired. Andy Murray, on the other hand, has a decent serve and an exceptional return, so he edges the Aussie overall in the basic elements of the game.
Murray and Kyrgios both dislike long rallies, albeit due to entirely different reasons. While Murray is no longer the physical specimen he once was, Kyrgios is highly temperamental and has a penchant for pulling the trigger early in rallies.
The Aussie's groundstrokes are often as powerful as his serve, but more often than not they lack accuracy and consistency. As such, Murray's disciplined approach is likely to reap rewards in this fixture.
This is a difficult match to call, especially since Kyrgios would be very motivated to end his losing streak. But Murray might be able to edge it courtesy of his more well-rounded game.
Prediction: Andy Murray to win in three sets.