Britain’s Andy Murray will play Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the Olympic Tennis tournament. This match will be the second time in a matter of weeks that Murray has played the Cypriot. Just over a month ago, the two squared off in the third round of Wimbledon with Murray overcoming his opponent in an exciting four set battle.
Andy Murray will not be fazed by the pressure as it is exactly the same spotlight that he is under at the main Wimbledon tournament. Earlier this summer Murray reached his first SW19 singles final after reaching the semi-final stage for three years on the trot. In the final, he was beaten by seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in four sets despite winning the first.
Murray has always played well on the grass of the All-England club, where the Olympic tennis is hosted. The absence of the injured Nadal has made no difference to Murray’s side of the draw, as he has Novak Djokovic as a potential semi-final obstacle. So far Murray has beaten Stanislas Wawrinka and Jarkko Nieminen, both in convincing straight sets victories. The Scot has started the tournament in the same rich vein of form that carried him to his maiden Wimbledon final, and he will need more of the same to not only reach the later stages of the Olympics, but first to get past Baghdatis.
Cypriot flag-bearer Marcos Baghdatis is ranked 45 in the world and has reached one grand slam final in his career. He is Cyprus’ most successful tennis player in history, and for this he was given the responsibility to carry his countries flag at the opening ceremony. He has endured a poor last few years, and has not reached the fourth round of a major since early 2009. At Wimbledon in recent years he has reached the third round a couple of times, but his best performance came in 2006 when he reached the semis.
Murray and Baghdatis know each other well and Murray’s old coach Miles MacLagan has actually been in the Cypriot’s camp for the last year and a half. Their most recent meeting was at Wimbledon earlier this year, where after being one set all he lost all his momentum after a rain break and succumbed to the British number one, 5-7 6-3 5-7 1-6.
Murray v Baghdatis tips verdict
Since Murray broke into the world’s top 10, these two have met on five occasions, with Murray winning four and Baghdatis just the once, in Rotterdam in 2011. These two did play twice in 2006, but that was when Murray was still young, and unsurprisingly Baghdatis won both comfortably.
There is a fair bit of passion when these two meet, due to the allegiance of Murray’s ex-coach, but in front of a hugely partisan centre court Murray should be too good. It is essential for Murray to start well, as Baghdatis thrives off confidence. If Murray can get ahead early the Cypriot may well doubt himself mentally.
Our betting tip: Murray to Win 2-0