A look at Andy Murray’s performance at the Japan Open

Andy Murray at the Rakuten Open in Tokyo

So far, the year 2012 has been pretty kind to tennis star, Andy Murray. The 25-year-old Scotland native and London resident started the year off by winning the Brisbane International, reached his fifth straight Grand Slam at the Australian Open and won the first British male singles gold medal since 1908 when he played in the London Olympics.

Unfortunately, his awesome winning streak ended once he reached Japan. Here’s how Andy Murray’s matches went down at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo this past week.

First Round: Murray vs. Karlovic
Andy Murray had a great start in defending his championship title as he beat Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic in straight sets in the first round of the Rakuten Open.

Ivo Karlovic, who received an entry into the event after Gael Monfils had to drop out due to a knee injury, had never beaten Murray in a match. However, he put up a good fight in the first set with each player holding their serves and leveling the set at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. Murray eventually won two straight points to seal it.

Both players held their serves in the next set and Karlovic even led the set for a while. The Croatian player couldn’t continue his momentum, however and Murray won the second set as well.

Murray executed brilliant serves during this match, hitting nine aces without a single double fault. In the second round, Murray faced off with Lukas Lacko from Slovakia.

Second Round: Murray vs. Lacko
The defending Rakuten champion trounced Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in the second round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships. Murray won in straight sets of 6-1 and 6-2, and needed only 57 minutes to register this win.

Murray started off flawlessly, grabbing the first five games to obtain a 5-0 lead. Lacko held his serve in the next set to reduce the lead to 5-1. Murray hit three aces but committed a couple of double faults in the first set. However, he had a high conversion rate and returned Lacko’s serves brilliantly, which led to a fairly easy win.

Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka challenged Murray in the third round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship.

Third Round: Murray vs. Wawrinka
Andy Murray beat Swiss tennis star, Stanislas Wawrinka, in a three-set match at the Rakuten Open 2012. Seeded top in this event, Andy Murray was able to win the match 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in a little under two hours.

This match saw numerous long rallies and longer games. Fortunately, Murray started off well and he rode the momentum into the final set. Murray faced the Canadian number one seed, Milos Raonic, in the fourth round of the championship.

Fourth Round: Murray vs. Raonic
The Olympic gold medallist lost to Milos Raonic after a three-set battle at 6-3, 6-7, 7-6. In this 2 hour and 46 minute thriller, Raonic gave a first-rate performance and struck early to win the opening set.

Murray managed to drag the second set into a tiebreaker and bagged the second set. But the two players had another tiebreaker in the third round and Raonic, clearly the better player this match, beat Murray in a surprise victory.

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