Can Andy Murray win second Wimbledon title?
Andy Murray takes up his second battle for a Wimbledon title in these crushing heatwave temperatures.
The world number three, Murray, will be on Centre Court to play world number 58 Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan. He arrives in SW19 in what many – including himself – have described as the best form of his life.
Murray’s opponent Kukushkin, is arguably a force to be reckoned with, and for 20 minutes of his 6-4 7-6(3) 6-4 win at Wimbledon against the Kazakh, Murray had a tough time at the All England Club.
After Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer however won out in their usual solid way, and both men are Murray’s potential semi-final opponents.
Writing for the BBC Sport website, Murray said: “I’m sure good preparation played its part on Tuesday for my first-round match against Mikhail Kukushkin, because I haven’t played too many matches on Centre Court when the temperature reached 41 degrees.
I spent just over two hours out there. My recovery might change a little bit depending on circumstances and how a match went.”
2013 champion Murray looked as though he was carving a clean path through when he broke in the 10th game to win the first set, and then right away took a 2-0 lead in the second.
But soon after Kukushkin found his game and started to take advantage of Murray’s erratic serve.
On the hottest day since records began, and sweltering Murray folded three times as Kukushkin took a 6-5 lead and served for the second set.
After finally losing his cool, thing started to finally work against the Kazakh.
Business as usual then resumed and Murray, one of the favourites to win a second Wimbledon title this year, broke in the fifth game of the third set and closed it out when Kukushkin fired a backhand wide.
“It doesn’t say on this match report how well I played, it just says that I won the match. That’s the most important thing,” said Murray at the post-match news conference.
Yet he admitted it had not been the show he had wanted to put on his return to Wimbledon.
“It’s a bit frustrating because you obviously want to go out there and perform as best you can, whereas today I didn’t feel like I was able to do that because of the way that he was playing,” he said.
After a fourth Queens Club crown and two unprecedented claycourt successes in the European spring, many people are tipping Murray to retain his title.
But what are the bookies saying?
Betfair are offering 5/2 for Murray as losing in the final spot, and the same odds that he should get fail at a semifinal should he make it that far.
Nadal on the other hand is 20/1 on to lose in the final, while he’s been placed at 9/2 for a semifinal exit.
Stan Wawrinka – the French Open champion – ranks Andy Murray as third favourite to win Wimbledon this year, behind Novak Djokovic and Federer.
It seems as usual the Brit has a fight on his hands, but he has also suggested that he prepared better for this Wimbledon than any other tournament.
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