Blogs & Opinion


Have a little patience

Barry backs Murray, but can't see a surprise from the other Brits

Barry Cowan Posted 28th June 2012 view comments

This is where it starts to become more difficult for Andy Murray.

I never felt his opening match against Nikolay Davydenko would be as difficult as it might have looked to some people on paper, but I think Ivo Karlovic can make it hard for him, even though Murray has a good record against him.

Murray: cool head needed

Murray: cool head needed

Every time you play the tall Croat on grass on his serve, you're always going to be wary of his threat. But over the years, Murray has been notorious for getting big serves back into play. If he can do that enough he should be fine because he's not really going to be under much pressure on his own serve.

Murray's rhythm will be interrupted at times and when you're not 100 per cent confident that can be highlighted even more. That's the case a little bit with Andy because he hasn't had the preparation he wanted.

We're going to see close sets - and it might be four or five sets - but when it comes down to the crux the added big-match experience will weigh heavily in Andy's favour.

Barry Cowan
Quotes of the week

Today will be a real test of his patience and I'll be looking closely at his body language. He might go for three or four games against the big serve without putting his racquet on the ball, but he just has to wait for his opportunity. He needs to be patient.

We're going to see close sets - and it might be four or five sets - but when it comes down to the crux the added big-match experience will weigh heavily in Andy's favour.

I can't see fellow Brit James Ward joining him in the third round. On paper he has a very tough match against last year's quarter-finalist Mardy Fish, who played well in his opening match.

However, the American has been out for a long time and is not at peak fitness, so if he has an off-day then James needs to be aggressive and take his chance. I think Fish should come through though.

We also have British interest in the women's draw today, including Elena Baltacha against Petra Kvitova. The defending champion was less than convincing in her opening match, but it'll be a big task for Elena, who has never really shown that she can win against the best. Today could be a step too far for her.

And Anne Keothavong plays the surprise French Open finalist Sara Errani. Anne is a really feisty competitor and is naturally a very gutsy player, but she doesn't have a really big shot and I think that's what you need against someone like Errani.

So I suspect Murray will be the only Brit through today, but Heather Watson showed some really positive signs yesterday. She's been improving and anybody who's watched her in the opening two rounds can only be impressed with her attitude on and off the court.

I was convinced she was going to win yesterday and she's got some good points in the bank now. She has nothing to lose in round three against one of the top seeds, Agnieszka Radwanska.

Seeds out

We saw a couple of top seeds go out yesterday, but I wasn't too surprised about Caroline Wozniacki.

She's been struggling, it seems like she's been trying to change her game a little bit and she's lost a bit of confidence as her ranking has dropped. Her opponent Tamira Paszek was fresh from winning Eastbourne and came out on top.

On paper I was surprised to see Sam Stosur lose, but I'm still not convinced she can play her best tennis when the pressure's on her. She is a much better player when she's the underdog, as she showed in the US Open Final against Serena Williams.

In the men's draw I expect to see Rafa Nadal join Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in round three today.

Federer's had a very good draw so far and Djokovic played really well yesterday, though I thought his opponent, Ryan Harrison, showed his potential even though he came up a little bit short on the really big points.

We saw why Novak is the very best because on the big points he battened down the hatches and made himself extremely tough to beat.

Harrison will learn from that experience and will become a better player for it. I think he's going to have a really good summer in America.

Each day during the Wimbledon fortnight, Barry will be serving up his views. Check out his latest blog entry every morning on skysports.com

back to top

Other Tennis Experts:

Latest Posts in Tennis:

Mark Petchey

Fillip for Ferrer

Mark Petchey marvels at David Ferrer's win over Rafael Nadal but downplays it's long-term significance....

Barry Cowan

Heavy burden

Great Britain's best Davis Cup since 1986 fails to mask their reliance on Andy Murray, says Barry Cowan....

Latest News RSS feeds

Cibulkova fights into final

Dominika Cibulkova defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3 to reach the final of the BMW Malaysian Open.

Federer sets up Wawrinka final

Roger Federer clinched a 7-5 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic to set up an all-Swiss final at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Czechs pile pressure on Italy

Italy are on the brink of elimination from the Fed Cup after going 2-0 down in their semi-final with the Czech Republic.

Injury concern for Djokovic

World No 2 Novak Djokovic could miss the French Open after revealing he is suffering from a nagging wrist injury.

Federer to meet Djokovic

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will play each other in the Monte Carlo semis after both survived scares on Friday.

Features

WTS podcast

WTS podcast

Sarah-Jane Mee, Greg Rusedski, Nick Dougherty, Tim Stimpson and Anna Mayes debate leadership.

Fabio Fognini: Italian has greater amount of confidence and can flourish on clay

Fabio Fognini: Italian has greater amount of confidence and can flourish on clay

Fabio Fognini's bravado is now backed up with real belief and he can enjoy a stellar clay-court season, says Leif Shiras.

Rafa to reign again

Rafa to reign again

Tim Clement expects Rafael Nadal to regain the Monte-Carlo Masters title in the coming week.