Andy Murray swept past Andrey Kuznetsov in Beijing last year, but the Russian is confident he can cause an upset
ANDY MURRAY was ‘on fire’ the last time he played Andrey Kuznetsov.
But the Russian believes he can turn up the heat on the struggling world No1 on Tuesday by dumping him out the French Open.
Murray’s 6-2 6-1 victory over Kuznetsov in Beijing last year was part of the extra- ordinary run which took him to the top of the rankings.
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But the world No 73 has won more Tour matches on clay this year as the out-of-form Scot and can smell blood.
Kuznetsov, 26, said: “In Beijing Andy was playing very good and he was on fire, beating everybody.
“I will come on court not thinking he is world No 1 and for sure he is going to win.
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“I’ll try to win, not just to show good tennis or a good fight. That’s the difference. I know that I can win.”
Kuznetsov has been playing well recently. The former junior Wimbledon champion, who was a semi-finalist in Geneva just before coming to Paris, said: “I understand, of course, that Andy is the favourite of this match but I think I’ll have good chances.
“If you see the results he showed on clay, maybe it’s not his best as he showed last year. It shows it’s possible to beat him.
“If he starts a little bit nervy and shaky and I start with confidence, maybe I can win one set and take a lead in the second.
“It’s a good experience to play against a world No 1. If I win, I will be a hero. If I lose, nobody will be surprised. So nothing to lose for me.”
But plenty to lose for Murray. Rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal breezed through their first-round encounters in straight sets, against Marcel Granollers and Benoit Paire respectively.
Djokovic has had his own problems and said: “Andy has had an unbelievable year and spent a lot of energy to do what he did.
“It’s no wonder he felt a bit, I guess, deflated. So he needs time to rediscover that sense of urge and motivation.
“But I know him for a very long time, so I’m sure he’ll be back on track.
Muzza has had his problems in the build-up to Paris — but at least he has his rackets.
John Peers, in the top-ranked doubles pair with Henri Kontinen, is still waiting for blundering British Airways to deliver his luggage.
Aussies Peers tweeted: “I’m playing at @rolandgarros tomorrow. @British_Airways any chance you can find and send my rackets please . . .”