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24 August 2020 20:47

Andy Murray played his first match in nine months on Saturday.

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The start of the US Open 2020 is already producing some mouth-watering contests. To keep up that intensity, a highly-anticipated clash between Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev is next. The two will face off in the Round of 32 at the Western and Southern Open on Monday. Four years since their first and only tour-level meeting, not many would have expected the vast difference between the two players in terms of ranking and form. Back then, Zverev was an 18-year old trying to make it on the second stage.

Andy Murray vs Alexander Zverev at the Western & Southern Open 2020: Preview, Head-to-head and Prediction

On the other hand, Murray was the best player in the world and in the midst of a purple patch. Preview: Andy Murray vs Alexander Zverev Alexander Zverev is now the world number seven and one of the top title contenders at the Western and Southern Open and the US Open. Murray is ranked 134 in the ATP rankings and still cannot say he is well and truly back after nursing injury issues over the last two years. But what Murray has over Zverev in the current scenario is court time. Andy Murray played his first match in nine months on Saturday. He beat American Frances Tiafoe in a tough three-setter in his first-round match. He was understandably a bit rusty, but Murray showed his vintage defensive skills and dug deep to prevail. Speaking after the match, Murray recognized the challenge of Zverev. "When he's serving well, he's obviously one of the top players in the world," Murray said. Meanwhile, Zverev will play his first competitive match since February. He started the year with a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open. But an early loss in his previous event in Acapulco, followed by the break stopped his progress. He played at the ill-fated Adria Tour and the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, but Zverev knows that the real challenge begins now. Head-to-head record: Murray vs Zverev Their only meeting so far was in the first round of the Australian Open in 2016. Murray won that match 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. Prediction: Murray vs Zverev The two will face off in the third match on Grandstand on Monday. Murray has hardly played singles tennis in the last two years. But every time he did, he looked good. The match against Tiaofe was similar. The key for Murray is his experience. It might also help him, for a change, to go into a big match with not much to lose. His ability to play the waiting game will certainly test Zverev. Zverev recently hired former player David Ferrer as his coach. The Spaniard is expected to improve Zverev's return of serve and defensive game, both of which are Murray's strong points. It will be interesting to see if Zverev has improved in those aspects. Zverev will be tested for sure with the Briton player as his first ATP opponent in six months. However, Zverev will relish the challenge and will aim to live up to expectations as the fifth seed. Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in three sets