Alexander Bublik will be getting right back in action after winning the first ATP title of his career when he meets Andy Murray in Rotterdam on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the second round begins with Karen Khachanov vs. Cameron Norrie.
Alexander Bublik vs. (WC) Andy Murray
Murray is making his seventh appearance at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, bidding for his second title (previously in 2009, when he defeated Rafael Nadal in the final). The 34-year-old Scot is nowhere near a title favorite at this point in his career, but he is at least back inside the top 100 thanks in part to a runner-up performance last month in Adelaide (lost to Aslan Karatsev). Murray advanced one round at the Australian Open, beating Nikoloz Basilashvili and then falling to Taro Daniel.
Murray’s current inconsistency is something Bublik has experienced throughout his entire career. The 31st-ranked Kazakh is one of the most mercurial players on tour, and it was most definitely the good Bublik who showed up last week in Montpellier. He captured his first-ever ATP title, upsetting Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-3 in Sunday’s final. Bublik is playing well; the only question is his mental state. Chances are good that motivation will be lacking, and this is a tough matchup for him anyway against a strong returner like Murray.
Pick: Murray in 2
Cameron Norrie vs. Karen Khachanov
Norrie and Khachanov will be going head-to-head for the fifth time in their careers on Wednesday. They have split their four previous encounters, all of which came in 2021. Khachanov won their lone indoor contest 6-2, 6-2 in the same round of this same Rotterdam event and he also prevailed 6-4, 5-7, 6 -4 at their most recent meeting in the Canada Masters.
The 28th-ranked Russian already might as well be on his second life this week. He saved a match point against Alexei Popyrin at 4-5 in the third set and also came back from 5-3 down in the ensuing tiebreaker to triumph 6-7 (4), 6-1, 7-6 (6). Norrie is attempting to break out of an early 2022 slump and he cruised past Ugo Humbert 6-2, 6-4 on Monday. This should be a good one, but Khachanov has the edge in current form and also based on last year’s Rotterdam result.
Pick: Khachanov in 3