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Wimbledon: I'm ready for my toughest test so far, insists Murray


By Eleanor Crooks

Andy Murray is expecting the first real test of his Wimbledon title credentials when he takes on flamboyant Italian Fabio Fognini in the third round today.

The world number one has put aside concerns about his form and fitness with dominant wins over Alexander Bublik and Dustin Brown.

But 28th seed Fognini is a substantially higher calibre opponent, even if he is more at home on clay than grass.

Wimbledon is the only grand slam at which he has not made the fourth round, but he produced an eye-catching straight-sets win over big-hitting Czech Jiri Vesely on Wednesday to set up his clash with Murray.

Fognini struts around the court like a catwalk model but can unleash explosive winners off both forehand and backhand and has won half of his six previous meetings with Murray.

The Scot said: "He's always dangerous. He's very solid off his forehand and backhand side, but he can also hit winners from both sides.

"A lot of guys maybe have a big forehand and are maybe more consistent on the opposite wing. Whereas Fabio can hit winners off both sides. He has good hands up at the net.

"I don't think I have ever played against him on grass. He moves extremely well on the other surfaces. I don't know how well he moves on the grass but he certainly can play well.

"I remember watching (when) he was up a couple of sets last year on (Feliciano) Lopez. Lost in five sets. Lopez is obviously a very good grass-court player. He started the tournament well here.

"So I expect it to be very tough. When Fabio is switched on, he's really, really tough to beat."

Fognini was certainly switched on the last time the pair met in Rome in May, when the Italian was comfortably the better player in a 6-2 6-4 victory.

He also beat Murray in straight sets in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup in 2014 and gave him a scare in the third round of the Rio Olympics.

The 30-year-old heads into the match in good spirits having produced one of his best-ever performances at Wimbledon against Vesely.

He said: "Of course I am happy. Happy for sure in my performance because I knew before it was a really tough match.

"Last year he played (in the) second week here in Wimbledon. He's a lefty, really good serve, so it's never easy to play against that player.

"For sure, if not the best, it's one of the best (matches at Wimbledon). In the top three on grass.

"I'm happy because I have another chance to play a great player like Andy in the next round, I think on the Centre Court. So it could be nice."

Fognini will take confidence from his win over Murray in Rome but also knows it may not count for much.

He said: "If I have to be honest, it's completely different to play here. I played at home, so I played a really good match.

"It's Wimbledon, it's home for him. It's best-of-five (sets). Something can change. Of course, he's the defending champion. So it's going to be really tough, for sure. He's the favourite."

Belfast Telegraph


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