Gijon Open draw: Andy Murray handed difficult opening match at inaugural ATP 250 event

Andy Murray plays a shot

Andy Murray faces a tough first-round encounter at the Gijon Open as he will take on world No 31 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the Spanish tournament on Tuesday.

The former world No 1 will be playing at ATP Tour level for the first time since his third-round defeat at the US Open in early September, although he did play a singles match and a doubles rubber at the Laver Cup just over a fortnight ago.

Murray, currently ranked No 48 in the world, accepted a late wildcard into the inaugural ATP 250 event as he looks to pick up some crucial ranking points ahead of the 2023 season, which could result in a seeding at next year’s Australian Open.

However, the draw has not been a favourable one for the three-time Grand Slam winner as he takes on sixth seed and home favourite Davidovich Fokina first up.

It will be the first meeting between the pair with both players looking to bounce back after recent defeats.

Murray lost both his singles and doubles matches at the Laver Cup while Davidovich Fokina was beaten in the opening round of the Astana Open last week.

The winner of the Murray-Davidovich Fokina clash will face either Pedro Cachín or qualifier Alexey Vatutin in the second round while third seed Roberto Bautista Agut is the projected quarter-final opponent.

Second Pablo Carreno Busta is the leading contender in the bottom half of the draw, but he is likely to face rising Argentine star and seventh seed Sebastian Paez in the quarter-final.

World No 9 Andrey Rublev is the top seed in Gijon and he will take on either Illya Ivashka or wildcard Feliciano Lopez in the second round with fifth seed Tommy Paul a likely quarter-final opponent.

Rublev heads to Spain on the back of semi-final defeat at the hands of Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Astana Open on Sunday.

Francisco Cerundolo is seeded fourth and he will face either qualifier Manual Guinard or veteran Fabio Fognini in the second round while he could face eighth seed Albert Ramos Vinolas in the last eight.

2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem will also continue his comeback following his lengthy absence earlier this year due to a wrist injury as he will open his campaign against world No 62 Joao Sousa on Monday.

The Gijon Open was handed a single-year ATP 250 license following the cancellation of events in China due to the Covid-19 pandemic and matches will take place on the indoor hard-courts at the Palacio de Deportes de Gijón.

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