Andy Murray vs. Lukas Rosol, Munich, May 1
Murray would love to win a clay court for the first time. He’s won 31 titles over the years, winning two major Slams at the US Open on a hard court and Wimbledon on grass. He has beaten the big member of the ‘Big 4’ Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but he has never taken them out during prime-time at the clay tournaments. Those men have all won gigantic clay events, but the Scot has not come super close.
Murray wants to win any type of a clay tournament, which is why he is in Munich this week (and a lot of additional money, of course). The world No. 3 is still learning how to play the right way and he is only 27, so he has years ahead. When he slides on the red clay, sometimes he just continues to slip, and he isn’t able to lock it in and club the balls. He can strike his phenomenal backhand just about everyone, but he can push his forehand because he isn’t set and floats the balls into the middle of the court. He needs to use more spins, drop shots and be patient.
The veteran Rosol is tall at 6-foot-5 and he is a huge hitter. Last year he had played very well overall, reaching his high ranking at No. 26. But this season he has struggled big time, only winning two matches in a row, which is problematic. Rosol has a huge first serve, but he has never looked fantastic on clay, which means that Murray will figure him out early and win 6-3, 7-5.
In Estoril the 18-year-old Borna Coric now has a new coach in Thomas Johansson, which the Swede will make sure that the young one will be enthusiastic. But is Coric ready on clay against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who won Romania? Nope, the Spaniard will best him in sets.
In Istanbul, Grigor Dimitrov will face Ivan Dodig, who is a big hitter but the Bulgarian has a lot more variety and is faster. Dimitrov will win in straight sets.
In Prague Karolina Pliskova has won her third straight three-set wins and if she is more consistent she should be able to grab the title. She will face Yanina Wickmayer who is powerful, but she is erratic and this time Pliskova will win in straight sets.
In Marrakech, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has been playing excellent ball on clay, reaching the final in Rio, winning Poland and on Thursday she beat the red hot Timea Bacsinszky 6-3 3-6 7-5. She will win again when she upsets Elina Svitolina in three long sets.