There will be an all-British affair in Beijing on Wednesday, with Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray set to fulfill for the primary time.
The British No.3 will tackle the British No.14 in the second spherical of the China Open. Both will have good purpose to assume they will emerge victorious and attain the quarter-finals.
Norrie sometimes could be thought of the favorite in any assembly with a participant ranked exterior the top-500, though three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.1 Murray is clearly the exception to that rule.
That mentioned, Murray remains to be in the early levels of his comeback and is but to win back-to-back matches at ATP Tour degree since returning in the American exhausting court docket summer season. One suspects that will change on Wednesday.
Norrie has didn’t transcend the second spherical in any of his previous 5 occasions. Two of these 5 defeats got here in opposition to gamers ranked exterior the world’s top-100.
He did transfer previous world No. 33 Cristian Garin in the primary spherical in Beijing, though the Chilean was pressured to retire quickly after a nasty fall on the finish of the primary set.
Murray required no such fortune throughout one of the best win of his comeback after a hip resurfacing operation in January. He confirmed grit, dedication and loads of high quality on serve and off the bottom to defeat US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini – the eighth-highest ranked participant primarily based solely on outcomes in 2019.
That win ensures Murray will climb at the very least 100 locations to round world No. 370 when the ATP rankings are subsequent launched. A win in opposition to Norrie would see him return to the top-300.
Ranking stays secondary at this stage in Murray’s comeback however Norrie has a shot of changing into Britain’s top-ranked male this week ought to he win a, maybe unlikely, first ATP title. A string of excellent outcomes between now and the top of the season might see him rise above Dan Evans and present incumbant Kyle Edmund.
Murray v Norrie
Murray 32-24 Norrie
Murray 503-69 Norrie
Murray 1-41 Norrie
Best consequence in Beijing
Murray: Champion (2016)
Norrie: Second spherical (2019)
Odds (Sky Bet)
It could be little shock to see Murray return to the highest of the British pile subsequent season given the speed of enchancment proven so far.
His victory in opposition to world No.13 Berrettini was the primary top-20 win of any British participant since Evans beat Nikoloz Basilashvili at Wimbledon. Edmund’s final top-20 win – over Milos Raonic in Miami – got here in March whereas Norrie has not overwhelmed a participant that extremely ranked all yr. It as soon as once more factors to the gulf in class between Britain’s most interesting tennis export and the remainder of the sector.
Despite having by no means met earlier than in official matchplay, Murray and Norrie have practised collectively a number of instances through the years and as not too long ago as in the buildup to the beginning of the Chinese swing.
Murray has historically matched up properly in opposition to left-handers, with Fernando Verdasco the one lefty not named Rafael Nadal to have inflicted a number of defeats on the two-time Wimbledon champion.
His backhand sometimes negates any benefit a lefty may count on to have when attacking cross-court with their forehand and one suspects Norrie lacks the weapons to make this too uncomfortable a day for Murray.
If he continues to function on the degree he has been in the previous two weeks, it’s exhausting to not see Murray successful in straight units.
Prediction: Murray in 2