Friday (September 2; time TBD) in New York, #13 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy and the tournament’s 2012 champion, Andy Murray, square off, with a spot in the U.S. Open’s round of 16 at stake.
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Andy Murray vs Matteo Berrettini preview and prediction
Since peaking as the #1 player in the world in 2016 and becoming the youngest person ever to earn a knighthood in the UK at age 29, the road for Andy Murray has been an incredibly rocky one. His form seemingly abandoned him in the opening months of 2017, at which point missed time with an elbow injury. On his return, the Scot continued to struggle, before ultimately withdrawing from a number of tournaments, including the 2017 US Open and the 2018 Australian Open with a hip injury. The years since have included multiple hip surgeries, multiple extended stretches away from the court (and, thus, multiple returns), a drop out of the top 800 in the world, a first singles title in two years at the Challenger level. in 2019, and a multi-year slog back to the ATP top-50.
After missing the 2017 and 2019 U.S. Open tournaments, Murray is back in New York for a third straight year, this time as the 51st-ranked player in the world. He was crowned U.S. Open champion a decade ago, but has not advanced past the quarterfinals since 2016. It’s worth noting that Murray’s run-up to this tournament was not a very smooth one, as he lost in the first rounds of the Citi and Canadian Opens, only advanced to the round of 32 the Cincinnati Masters, where he fell (competitively, in three sets) to ninth-seeded Cameron Norrie.
However, thus far in the U.S. Open, Murray seems to have rediscovered his groove, with a straight-set win over the #24 seed, Francisco Cerúndolo of Argentina, in the opening round, followed by second rally from a set down to defeat American Emilio Nava, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-0. Murray enters the third round as a longshot to win the 2022 U.S. Open, with the shortest odds at 40/1, but with the broader market (Betfair, for instance) in the 60-to-66/1 range.
His opponent, meanwhile, Italian Matteo Berrettini, has fared only slightly better than Murray in recent months. After having to withdraw from Wimbledon due to COVID, Berrettini put forth a strong showing at the Swiss Open, advancing to the final, where he lost in three sets (4-6, 7-6, 6-2) to Norway’s Casper Ruud, that tournament’s top seed. The weeks since have not been kind to Berrettini, however, as he lost in straight sets in the opening round of the Canadian Open to Spain’s Pablo Carreño on August 9. A week later, at the Cincinnati Masters, he fell to American Frances Tiafoe in three sets, again in the opening round.
Garcia entered the U.S. Open as the tournament’s #13 seed, and thus far also seems to have righted the ship, with a straight-set win in the opening round over Chilean Nicolás Jarry, and a four-set second win over Frenchman Hugo Grenier. It must be said, however, that in that second round win, Berrettini dropped the first set 2-6, and needed tiebreakers in each oft he last two sets to advance. Though not as big a longshot as is Murray, at the time of writing Berrettini is not among the top tiers of favorites for the 2022 U.S. Open title, with odds as low as 11/1 at some books, with Sky Bet offering the biggest payout, at 16/1.
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Despite his own middling form in the run-up to this tournament, Matteo Berrettini is seen as something is a comfortable favorite to advance past Andy Murray into the round of 32, with odds (at Sky Bet, for instance) in the 1/2 range. It is worth noting, however, that Murray has started this tournament quite well and, for all of his injuries and adversity in recent years (or perhaps even more so because of them), can draw on an extremely wide range of experiences – including that success on the biggest of stages.
Even if you think Berrettini advances, backing Murray to take one or two sets from the Italian could be a prudent move.