Andy Murray recognised the mental challenge of facing an opponent he was not familiar with after overcoming Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer in two tight sets at the Surbiton Trophy on Thursday, writes Oli Dickson Jefford in Surbiton.
After spending less than an hour on court in the opening round against Jurij Rodionov, Murray had a much tougher second round match against Brouwer, prevailing 7-6(4) 7-6(3) to reach the last eight.
Having defied his ranking of 230th to win two qualifying matches and a main draw match, Brouwer troubled the Brit with a powerful game seemingly tailor-made for grass.
Murray was forced to rally from 4-2 down in the second set to seal it in straight sets and admitted post-match it was tricky to know what to expect on court.
“He played one of the British guys in the qualifying, and he’s played a number of the Brits this year and in the last year, so I have a decent understanding and awareness of his game. But it’s always a little different when you get out there,” said Murray.
“Maybe he’s going on the court a little freer - he’s certainly changed some of his serving patterns we had seen going into the match which makes it a little bit trickier.
“It’s happening more often now. When I missed quite a big chunk of tennis the last few years, there was a lot of younger guys I hadn’t really played against or practiced with.
“I remember when I first came on the tour, when I was 19, 20, all the young players you know from juniors growing up, and the older ones you’ve been watching on TV since you were a kid, so you know their strokes, maybe understand their tendencies a bit.
“Whereas now the younger ones coming through I don’t always know loads about and playing at Challenger level there’s guys I wouldn’t have seen play before so it’s tricky.”
Murray now goes on to face one of those younger players in fifth seed Brandon Nakashima, who reached the third round of the French Open before losing to Alexander Zverev.
With a tough match looming on the horizon, the two-time Wimbledon winner hopes his second set turnaround enables his overnight recovery ahead of Friday.
Murray commented: “I was happy to finish in two [sets], because it was obviously pretty tight in the second set.
“It’s not easy conditions out there, he was serving well, he was taking chances, and using the slice a lot, which on these courts does work really well, so I was happy to get it done in two.
“It will be a really tough match tomorrow against Nakashima, he’s one of the better young and up-and-coming players in the world right now. He just came off a third round at the French Open and pushed Zverev pretty tight there, so it will be a really good match for me.
“Getting it done in two [today] means I should be pretty fresh for that.”
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