• French Open

Nieminen feels in his 'best form' ahead of Murray clash

ESPN staff
May 31, 2012
Jarkko Nieminen has lost all three of his previous meetings with Andy Murray © Getty Images

Jarkko Nieminen, Andy Murray's opponent in the second round of the French Open on Thursday, has warned Murray that he reckons he has been playing his "best tennis" in the warm-up to their match.

Nieminen, the world No. 48, has endured a mixed clay-court season so far, and lost in his first match at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia earlier this month to Sam Querrey.

The Finn's record against Murray will not fill his fans with much optimism, either: he has lost all three meetings, the last of which was at Wimbledon during 2010.

However, the pair have never faced each other on clay, and Nieminen feels how comfortable he feels on the surface could earn him a first win over the Scot.

"I'm very happy with my form," Nieminen said. "I've had extremely good preparation, I've stayed healthy and I've played really good tennis. I feel like I've played my best tennis in practice. I tried not to expect too much, just to enjoy my good form, and hopefully I can keep it up.

"I've played him on hard and grass so it's nice to challenge him on clay. I feel very good on clay at the moment. I know he can play really well on clay as well. If the weather stays like this, the conditions are very fast, and I think he likes that as well.

"He's obviously one of the top four players and one of the favourites for the tournament. It's a great challenge for me to get to play him again. It will be on a big court, which is always nice, and I'm looking forward to it."

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