Two British stars at opposite ends of their respective tennis careers will meet in the Round of 32 at Indian Wells on Monday.
Andy Murray, 35, has been resurgent to start 2023, making a run to the final in Qatar and winning two matches at the Australian Open over Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Jack Draper, 21, enjoyed a breakthrough 2022 campaign and was poised for big things in 2023, but he was forced to bow out of the Australian Open through injury and hadn’t played until Round 1 of Indian Wells.
Judging by how things went in his first two victories of the year, Draper seems to have shaken off the rust.
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Jack Draper vs. Andy Murray prediction
Draper caught a bit of a break with his Round 1 draw at Indian Wells. Draper was able to easily dispatch Leandro Riedl, 6-1, 6-1, to ease back into the swing of things.
The competition got much stiffer in the next round, however, and Draper was able to pass that test by defeating Dan Evans in straight sets.
If the win over Riedl was about getting back into form, the win over Evans seemed a bit of a statement that Draper would be able to pick things up where he left off before his leg injury.
That said, Murray is a much different test than Evans. While Evans is a terrific shot-maker and a crafty player, Murray is a dogged competitor who will make you work for every shot.
The Scot doesn’t have the game to play his opponents off the court anymore — his win over Radu Albot in the previous round was his first straight-set victory of 2023 — but he’s not going to get whitewashed, either.
Murray’s ability to dig in and make his opponent work is not the type of play-style that Draper would have wanted in just his third match back from injury.
He’s yet to drop a set in this tournament, but Draper faced 11 break points against his fellow Englishman.
The up-and-comer was able to hold his nerve on 10 of those 11 points, but he’s unlikely to be able to get away with that against Murray, whose return game is still phenomenal.
The gameplan for Draper will be to try and hit through Murray and keep things quick and tidy, but that’s easier said than done on these slow courts.
Murray should be able to drag Draper into long rallies and provide a stern test for the youngster.
Even though Draper’s numbers on hard courts are better than Murray’s, extenuating factors must be considered in this handicap.
When you bake all that in, this match looks like a coin flip, so getting Murray at +120 feels like good value on Monday night.
Jack Draper vs. Andy Murray pick
Andy Murray +120 (BetMGM)
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