Felix Auger Aliassime Returns Andy Murray From Rotterdam Open
MDP Live - Third seed Felix Auger Aliassime continued his path to winning the 2022 Rotterdam Open title with a convincing win.
The tennis player who reached the Rotterdam final in the 2020 season (lost to Gael Monfils), succeeded in overthrowing former world number 1 Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour 37 minutes for a place in the quarterfinals.
"From the start of the game, I was ready and focused. I think that's why I was able to produce a high level performance from the first point,” said Auger Aliassime, who is now 2-0 up in his head to head against Murray.
"He got me to the best of my ability and I feel really happy with the way I played and that I was able to stay ahead of him. To win it in straight sets is a huge relief."
The Canadian is making his fourth Rotterdam Open appearance this week and arrived in the Netherlands with his best finish to date at the Australian Open when he lost to Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals.
The 21-year-old displayed confidence throughout the match against Murray, including setting foot in the baseline area to send the 34-year-old sprinting from corner to corner with powerful strokes.
In a highly entertaining match, the Canadian started the first set 4-0, while the Briton struggled to overcome the consistent power and accuracy of the world number 9.
After claiming the first set, the two players exchanged break opportunities early in the second, before the world number 9 seized control by breaking Murray once again in the fifth game while displaying superb footwork to dictate the match with his forehand. The third seed also sealed the victory with a forehand volley.
Thanks to the win, eight-time runner-up Auger Aliassime is now 9-3 in 2022 after helping Canada win the ATP Cup earlier in January. Next, he will face sixth seed and Murray's compatriot Cameron Norrie for a place in the semifinals.
Murray won the Rotterdam Open title in 2009 and is looking to pick up a third win over a top 10 player in a row after beating Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner last season.
Andy Murray Feels Excellent, But Chooses to Skip Clay-Court Season
MDP Live - After sacrificing a lot to make an impressive comeback at the ATP tournament, Andy Murray has prepared what he needs to last as long as possible.
The former world number 1 has confirmed that he plans to skip 2022 clay-court tournaments, including the French Open, in order to give himself the best chance to do well this season.
Ahead of competing in the Rotterdam Open, the Briton cited previous experience as a reason to skip the clay-court tournament this season.
"In the season I lost to Felix Auger Aliassime at the 2020 US Open, I never really recovered from that match and the clay-court tournament made it worse," admits Murray.
"Then last season I had some problems at the start of the season, around the Miami Open and again, the clay-court tournaments didn't help me. I've had discussions with my team about it and this season, even though I'm feeling good and fit, I really don't want to take the risk.”
The tennis player who has won three Grand Slam titles still wants to compete on clay again, but he especially wants to get the best preparation for the grass-court season.
"It's not that I won't be able to play on clay again in the future. It's just that last season I really barely got to play on grass-court season and I'm so grateful I started feeling better right before Wimbledon. I will keep trying to compete during that period. I'm still going to do something, but that's my plan at the moment," said Murray.
"It gave me a chance to rest, recover, work on my fitness and not take any risks."
Meanwhile, a familiar opponent will help the Briton to his best at the Rotterdam Open when he faces a challenging first-round tie against 2022 Open Sud de France champion Alexander Bublik.
The Rotterdam Open will be Murray's fourth tournament of the 2022 season after he started in the Melbourne Summer Set. He was immediately eliminated from the first round against Facundo Bagnis. But he was lucky at the Sydney International having made it through to the final before losing to Aslan Karatsev. At the Australian Open, he was unable to maintain the momentum and only made it to the second round after losing to Taro Daniel.
Andy Murray will try to keep his best like in Sydney
MDP Live - Andy Murray has won 46 titles, is ranked number 1 in the world, and has many achievements in his career to date.
But the British tennis player is still ambitious to achieve more. This was seen during the Sydney International trophy acceptance ceremony for the 2022 season after his defeat in the final against Aslan Karatsev.
"What a great atmosphere to play, thank you, it was amazing. I really miss playing in front of the crowd and games like that. "Unfortunately, the result wasn't what I wanted, but I'm going to do my best to come back and have nights like this again."
The 34-year-old has played the biggest stage in tennis on many occasions. However, he still wants to return to such big games. And the Briton made sure that he not only wanted to play in those moments, but managed to win them.
The world number 135, who is still working hard to return to form after undergoing hip surgery, has stated on many occasions that one of her biggest goals is to bag 50 titles. He has currently claimed 46 titles.
"I've set my short-term goals pretty clearly and the things I still want to try and achieve," added Murray.
"I want to try and win tournaments again. That's one of the reasons why I'm still playing, because I believe I can still do it."
Russia's Karatsev has been too tough for the former world number 1 in this season's Sydney International final, including securing all five break points he has faced. This match is the first meeting between the two players.
The achievement at the Sydney International is a positive effort for the British tennis player who does not make it to the semifinals of the 2021 ATP tournament.
Now, the three-time Grand Slam winner will head to Melbourne where he will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round of the Australian Open.
The British tennis player is not doing this all for herself. In the trophy presentation ceremony, he emphasized this.
“I want to thank my family back home. I don't know if you all watched, but I miss you guys," Murray said.