Winston-Salem Open 2021: Frances Tiafoe vs Andy Murray preview, head-to-head & prediction

Andy Murray greets <a href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Frances Tiafoe</a> at Wimbledon 2021
Andy Murray greets Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon 2021

Match details

Fixture: (13) Frances Tiafoe vs (WC) Andy Murray

Date: 24 August 2021

Tournament: 2021 Winston-Salem Open

Round: Second round (Round of 32)

Venue: Winston-Salem, United States

Category: ATP 250

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $717,955

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel

Frances Tiafoe vs Andy Murray preview

Frances Tiafoe will begin his 2021 Winston-Salem Open campaign with a second-round match against Andy Murray on Tuesday. While Tiafoe received a bye in the first round, Murray defeated Noah Rubin 6-2, 6-0 to kick-start his tournament on Sunday.

Murray was actually drawn to face Nick Kyrgios in the first round, but the Aussie withdrew at the last minute. That opened up a lucky loser slot for Rubin, who had gone down to Lucas Pouille in the last round of qualifying.

But Rubin was not in any shape to offer resistance to Murray, given that his match against Pouille - which lasted 127 minutes - got over just a couple of hours earlier. As such, Murray found it quite easy to stamp his authority on the American; the Scot won 92% of his first-serve points and also more than half of the return points.

However, facing a rested Frances Tiafoe will be an entirely different ball game for the three-time Major champion. Tiafoe last played on tour last Thursday, when he lost to Diego Schwartzman in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.

The 23-year-old has had a fruitful couple of weeks during the American hardcourt swing. Tiafoe made the third round at the Toronto Masters after successfully negotiating a couple of qualifying rounds, beating the likes of Emil Ruusuvuori, Yoshihito Nishioka and Denis Shapovalov.

Tiafoe backed that up with a win over Ugo Humbert in Cincinnati, so he would be quite pleased with his form ahead of his clash against Murray.

Frances Tiafoe vs Andy Murray head-to-head

Andy Murray leads Frances Tiafoe by a margin of 1-0 in the head-to-head. The two played each other at the Cincinnati Masters last year, with the Brit winning in three sets.

Frances Tiafoe vs Andy Murray prediction

Can Andy Murray go 2-0 up against Frances Tiafoe?
Can Andy Murray go 2-0 up against Frances Tiafoe?

This is likely to be an evenly-balanced match. On the one hand Frances Tiafoe has registered a few impressive wins lately, while on the other, Andy Murray's playing style is tailor-made to counter the American's.

Tiafoe's shotmaking is slightly unorthodox, with an unusual racket swing. That helps him generate enormous power on his forehand, which along with his serve, is his biggest weapon.

But Murray's defense has been in good shape lately, especially given how well he performed against the big-serving Hubert Hurkacz at Cincinnati. If Tiafoe cannot land a healthy percentage of his first serves, his second serve will be under a lot of pressure.

The Scot's second serve is not the biggest weapon either, so there could be a fair few break points in this match. But Tiafoe should have the edge given his superior fitness levels and foot speed, assuming his first serve is on the money.

Prediction: Frances Tiafoe to win in three sets.

Edited by Musab Abid

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