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Wimbledon: Haase in a hurry to shock Andy Murray

By Tom Allnutt

Published 02/07/2015

Pointing the way: Andy Murray got in a practice session at Wimbledon yesterday
Pointing the way: Andy Murray got in a practice session at Wimbledon yesterday

Andy Murray's next Wimbledon opponent Robin Haase believes his record against the British No 1 proves he is capable of springing a shock in the second round.

Haase faces Murray today knowing he pushed the World No 3 to his physical limits at last year's US Open when the Dutchman came close to forcing a fifth set, having won the third 6-1 before leading 4-1 in the fourth.

Murray battled to victory but it was not the first time he had experienced difficulty against Haase, after the Scot was taken to five sets in another meeting between the pair at Flushing Meadows in 2011.

It means Murray has won the pair's last four showdowns since Haase tasted success in their first ever encounter at Rotterdam in 2008, but the World No 78 believes he has shown he can trouble the Briton.

"It's tough to beat a guy like Andy in a best-of-five match but if you're getting close, of course you can win," said Haase, who saw off Colombian Alejandro Falla in the first round.

"I was in the fourth set last year and even 4-1 up and then there were two long rallies with some smashes, and I made a mistake in one and I didn't hit in another and he hit a passing shot.

"Then the momentum changed the game. If I could win that fourth set, you never know. It's only one more set."

Haase added: "I will try to find a weakness. I have proven that I can by beating him once.

"Maybe it's a long time ago, but still, I beat him. I have also played a few close matches."

Murray came through a tricky first-round match against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin on Tuesday but will have to raise his game against Haase, who beat Ivo Karlovic and Fernando Verdasco en route to the s-Hertogenbosch semi-finals last month.

The Scot spent an hour in practice with fellow Briton James Ward yesterday morning and then stayed out for an extra 30 minutes to hit with new coach Jonas Bjorkman.

The addition of Bjorkman has added fresh impetus to Murray's game this year as the 28-year-old looks to beat Haase and seal his seventh consecutive win on grass.

"I haven't played him that recently, I played him in Slams a few times," Murray said of this second-round opponent.

"I played him twice at the US Open and had two very difficult matches against him there. I played him once in Australia, where I played a very good match.

"But last time I played him in New York, I don't know exactly what happened, but I had terrible cramps from very early on in the match.

"It was a very tough match for me to get through, that one.

"He's a tough opponent. He likes grass. He enjoys playing on the big courts so it will be tough."

Murray is the third seed at Wimbledon but is widely considered the greatest threat to Novak Djokovic defending his crown this year.

An expectant home crowd gave Murray a rapturous reception when he walked out on Centre Court and he admits it remains a unique feeling playing at the All England Club.

"I still get goosebumps and stuff, butterflies in the stomach, when you walk out there," Murray said.

"Obviously it's a great, great court. I've had some of my best matches on there.

"It doesn't happen at all of the events where from the first day it's a packed, packed crowd from start to finish.

"It's always nice to play in front of that sort of crowd."

Haase (pictured) is prepared for the British onslaught but is ready to play his part.

"Of course there will be maybe only a handful of fans for me, but I'm here to play my game and hopefully entertain the crowd as well," Haase said.

"It's always a nice crowd to play here, so even if they will cheer for him, they like nice shots, so if I can play well, they will definitely applaud for me as well."

Belfast Telegraph

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