Andy Murray was definitely not at his very best as he saw off Marin Cilic 6-3 6-2 in his first match at the O2 this year but one aspect of the Brit’s game which frustrated and nulified the attack coming from the forehand of Cilic was that sliced backhand of Andy Murray.
Murray can defend from some incredible positions on the court which other players can only dream of and he can defend from metres behind the baseline or metres wide of the tramline, he is there!
We saw Kei dictate from the baseline and force Wawrinka to play to his tune but Murray could also do that but forces you to play extra shots and plants that seed of the doubt with the sliced backhand which keeps the ball low and forces you to create your own power and speed on the ball time and time again.
We can above Murray going into the forehand of Cilic with that slice and getting little height on it and good depth on the court, I would also hope and expect to see him go for the slice down the line as well as with respect to Cilic I do believe Nishikori is better at playing that forehand and following it into the net than Cilic which is why I’d expect Murray to mix it up.
Murray is defending deep and there is a danger as well of Nishikori running around the slice and backing up enough to play that inside-in forehand up the line which in a situation like this it is on, high risk but is a possibility.
Dictating rhythm will be a key to who wins this. Murray needs to settle well and put his game onto the court and make him play to his rhythm and not like when we saw Kei v Stan, ok Stan wasn’t too good himself but he couldn’t break the rhythm and momentum Nishikori was playing with.
Screenshot credit to SkySports