TENNIS – Andy Murray will have to solve the problem of his patchy play quickly if he hopes to defend last year’s Miami ATP Masters title against a star-studded field. In his first match since an unexpected split with coach Ivan Lendl earlier in the week, Murray beat Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1. Simone Kemler
Andy Murray will have to solve the problem of his patchy play quickly if he hopes to defend last year’s Miami ATP Masters title against a star-studded field. In 2013 Murray departed Miami ranked second in the world after a razor-thin victory over David Ferrer in the final gave him his second Sony Open title. After that he went on to claim an emotional second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, but the 26-year-old has yet to reach a final since having back surgery in September 2013 and is currently ranked sixth in the world.
Murray was at a loss to explain a third-set collapse against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round at the Indian Wells Masters and admitted his confidence was at low ebb. However, in his first appearance in Miami he is into the third round of the Sony Open in Miami despite an early wobble against the world number 67, Matthew Ebden. After losing the first set 6-3 to the Australian, Andy Murray dominated the next two sets for the loss of just one game, securing victory as the clock approached midnight at Crandon Park.
In his first match since an unexpected split with coach Ivan Lendl earlier in the week, Murray got the contest off to an unsteady start when Ebden broke him at the first opportunity and then held serve to quickly jump in front 3-0 on his way to easily taking the opening set. However the sixth seed immediately broke back to get on level terms and raced through the next five games to clinch a convincing victory. “You do what you do to win a match,” said Murray. “It’s not always about how you play or how calm you are on the court, it’s about winning the tennis match. That’s what matters. I won the next six games after that so maybe it nothing to do with it, maybe it helped. I just got on with it and won the match.”
The Wimbledon champion was one of a parade of grand slam winners who made it through the second round, including world number two Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Murray will next face Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, against whom he has a 9-0 record
That tough win was Ebden’s first in five tournaments and will have gotten him used to the conditions in Miami. Conditions Murray is very used to. The Scot lives in Miami and spends two to three months practicing on the center court. He will need that familiarity. If he gets past Lopez, Murray could face, Tsonga after that, and then Indian Wells champion and old rival Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
Murray does not expect the first move he makes since splitting with Lendl to bring success in Miami. The Scot says he knows he is not match fit. And the transition from having a coach of Lendl’s stature to doing it alone again might have some psychological consequences in his first couple of outings. The results will be much talked about. Just as people wondered whether Murray would ever win a Major, they now wonder if he will win more after not just back surgery but losing a man who helped turned around his career.
Andre Agassi gives an interesting insight into his thoughts regarding Murray’s future
Agassi spoke to a small group of British reporters as part of World Tennis Day, in London, earlier this month, revealed his ideas on the kind of mental challenges that face Murray, having won Wimbledon: “You’ve seen it a lot in the past. When you win for the first time or become that person who is expected to do it, it’s not easy at first. I won Wimbledon in 1992 and I didn’t win again until August of 1994. Pete won in 1990 at the US Open and my recollection is he didn’t win again until 1993 Wimbledon. There’s that area you get into where mentally you have to recognise that people expect you to win, you’re not satisfied unless you do win and there’s a lot of pressure that goes along with that.Once you deal with that, in time you realise it’s not about winning, it’s about being the best (you) can be every single day. When you start pushing yourself on a fundamental level to be the best that you can, you start to separate yourself. I believe Andy is going to settle into the comfort of being the guy that is going to be standing there towards the end of these tournaments. Once he pushes himself to make himself a better player and not worry so much about holding up the trophy or hardware, I think you’ll see him win a lot more.”
With Lendl, Murray chose an Tennis-icon to be coached by
Lendl, an eight-time Grand Slam champion,was appointed Murray’s coach in December 2011 with the aim of bringing the “experience and knowledge that few others have, particularly in major tournaments”. Prior to his partnership with Lendl, Murray had worked with the likes of Leon Smith, Mark Petchey, Brad Gilbert, Miles Maclagan and Alex Corretja. The Scot had lost his first four Grand Slam finals before teaming up with the Czech. In their first year together, Murray beat Roger Federer in the Olympic final at London 2012 before defeating Novak Djokovic to win the 2012 US Open. Murray then ended a 77-year wait for a British men’s singles champion at Wimbledon the following year with another victory against Djokovic. The 54-year old Lendl, is rated as one of the world’s greatest players, having won 94 ATP Tour titles in a 16-year career. He remained as the world’s top ranked player for 156 consecutive weeks. With regards to his engagement with Murray he said: “It is time to concentrate on some of my own projects, including playing more events around the world. I will always be in Andy’s corner and wish him nothing but great success as he, too, goes into a new phase of his career.”
Dominic Thiem Downplays US Open Chances
The world No.4 has given a frank assessment about his hopes at the New York major shortly after the draw was made on Thursday.
Dominic Thiem may be a top four seed in next week’s US Open, but the Austrian has played down the prospect of him winning his first grand slam title at the event.
The 25-year-old has experienced a setback in his build up to the tournament. Since winning the Kitzbuhel Open on clay, Thiem has only managed to play three matches on a hard court. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in what what was his best-ever run at the tournament. However, more recently Thiem has been sidelined from action due to a virus and pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters.
Thiem’s first round opponent at the US Open will be Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, who has suffered two consecutive first round losses on the tour. Fabbiano reached the third round in New York back in 2017, but has missed the two most recent editions.
“Without a doubt, there are much tougher rivals than Thomas Fabbiano in a first round, although I must say that, after overcoming this viral disease, I do not expect miracles.” Thiem told Sky Sport Austria on Thursday.
Heading into the event, Thiem has said he has set out no goal. He will be defending 360 ranking points after reaching the quarter-finals 12 months ago before losing in a five-set thriller to Rafael Nadal. Overall, Thiem’s win-loss at the US Open is 15-5 heading into this year.
“Right now I do not consider reaching a quarterfinals or a semifinal. I want to go round to round, looking beyond would be presumptuous.” He said.
“In the next few days I will keep my training to a minimum, the goal is to be in perfect shape on Monday.”
R1: 🇮🇹Thomas Fabbiano
R2: 🇰🇿Alexander Bublik
R3: 🇬🇧Kyle Edmund
R4: 🇫🇷Gael Monfils
QF: 🇬🇷Stefanos Tsitsipas
SF: 🇪🇸Rafael Nadal
F: 🇷🇸 Novak Djokovic
— Lukas Zahrer (@ZahrerLukas) August 22, 2019
Despite his recent setbacks, 2019 has been a season of success for the world No.4. In March he won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He would then go on to win trophies in Barcelona and Kitzhbuel. However, in the grand slams he has been less consistent. At the French Open Thiem reached the final, but has failed to win back-to-back matches at both the Australian Open (second round) and Wimbledon (first round). Although at the Australian Open he was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness.
The US Open will get underway on Monday.
Dominic Thiem at the US Open
Rafael Nadal ESP
|L||60 46 57 764 675|
|Round of 16||5||
Kevin Anderson RSA
|W||75 62 762|
|Round of 32||74||
Taylor Fritz USA
|W||36 63 765 64|
|Round of 64||31||
Steve Johnson USA
|W||675 63 57 64 61|
|Round of 128||81||
Mirza Basic BIH
|W||63 61 64|
|Round of 16||28||
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
|L||61 62 16 671 46|
|Round of 32||34||
Adrian Mannarino FRA
|W||75 63 64|
|Round of 64||108||
Taylor Fritz USA
|W||64 64 46 75|
|Round of 128||186||
Alex de Minaur AUS
|W||64 61 61|
|Round of 16||142||
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
|L||36 23 (RET)|
|Round of 32||39||
Pablo Carreno Busta ESP
|W||16 64 64 75|
|Round of 64||89||
Ricardas Berankis LTU
|W||64 63 62|
|Round of 128||66||
John Millman AUS
|W||63 26 57 64 63|
|Round of 32||14||
Kevin Anderson RSA
|L||36 673 673|
|Round of 64||70||
Denis Istomin UZB
|W||64 64 10 (RET)|
|Round of 128||76||
Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP
|W||75 63 75|
|Round of 16||7||
Tomas Berdych CZE
|L||16 26 46|
|Round of 32||21||
Feliciano Lopez ESP
|W||64 62 63|
|Round of 64||12||
Ernests Gulbis LTA
|W||46 36 64 63 63|
|Round of 128||84||
Lukas Lacko SLO
|W||63 63 62|
Denis Shapovalov wins Next Gen clash against Miomir Kecmanovic to reach the quarter final in Winston Salem
Denis Shapovalov beat Serbian Next Gen Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 16 minutes in Winston Salem winning two consecutive matches for the first time since he reached the Miami Open semifinal last March.
Shapovalov won 80 % of his service points and fended off four of the six break points he faced.
The Canadian Next Gen player earned six break points in the second game of the first set, but Kecmanovic saved them. Shapovalov earned the break in the fourth game at 15 to build up a 3-1 lead.
Shapovalov went up a double break in the next game after a forehand error from Kecmanovic. The Canadian player wrapped up wrapped up the first set 6-2 with two winners and two double faults from Kecmanovic after 37 minutes.
Shapovalov went up a 3-0 lead with a break, but he wasted three break points in the fourth game. Kecmanovic broke back to draw level to 3-3 and earned two break points in the seventh game, but Shapovalov saved them with two winners. The North American star broke serve in the next game to open up a 5-3 lead. Shapovalov hit four winners in the ninth game to close out the match.
Shapovalov is currently working with Mikhail Youzhny, who returned in St. Petersburg last September and is sitting in his coaching box in Winston Salem.
“Miomir is a very tough opponent. I have played him a lot in the past. We have had some crazy battles. I am really happy with the way I am playing”,said Shapovalov.
Shapovalov set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who battled past Sam Querrey 7-4 (7-4) 7-6 (12-10). In the tie-break of the second set Rublev saved three set points and Querrey fended off two match points. Rublev hit a forehand winner at 10-11 on Querrey’s serve to seal the win after 1 hour and 54 minutes. Rublev took a re-match against Querrey, who beat the young Russian player at Wimbledon in straight sets.
“It’s a special win for me. He just destroyed me, and now we had a great fight, and we were so close and I was a little more lucky”, said Rublev.
Frances Tiafoe advanced to his fourth quarter final and his first since May when Filip Krajinovic had to withdraw from the match after losing the first set 6-2. Tiafoe went up a double break to race out to a 5-0 lead.
Hubert Hurkacz got three breaks to build up a 6-3 3-1 lead, when Feliciano Lopez was forced to retire from the match after 55 minutes.
Pablo Carreno Busta cruised past Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 6-0 after 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach his fourth quarter final of the season. Sonego got an early break to open up a 4-1 lead in the first set. Carreno Busta broke back in the sixth game before converting his sixth set point in the tie-break. The Spaniard broke three times to cruise to a bagel win in the second set after 25 minutes.
Benoit Paire came back from losing the first set to beat French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3. Paire broke serve, when Humbert was serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set. Paire went up a double break to a 4-1 lead. Humbert converted his third break-back point in the eighth point, but Paire broke for the third time to seal the win.
John Millman cruised past Robin Haase 6-3 6-4 setting up a quarter final match against Steve Johnson, who beat Casper Ruud 6-2 7-6 (7-5).
Andy Murray To Play Rafa Nadal Open
The former world No.1 has announced where he will play next as his comeback from injury continues.
Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray is returning back to the Challenger tour for the first time since the year he turned professional back in 2005.
The Brit is set to take to the court in Manacor next week to play in a hard court tournament named after his rival Rafael Nadal. Murray is currently in the process of stepping up his comeback from a second hip operation earlier this year. The Rafa Nadal Open will be only his third singles tournament since January. Murray has previously lost in the first rounds at Cincinnati and Winston-Salem to Richard Gasquet and Tennys Sandgren.
Murray, who is currently ranked 329th in the world, had previously hinted that he may return back to the lower levels of competition in order to help regain his form. It will be the first time he has played a Challenger tournament since the 2005 Mons Open.
“I’m quite aware of sort of where I’m at just now and what my level is. It’s competitive at this level but it needs to be better,” Murray told atptour.com last week.
“Maybe I need to play a level down to get some matches and build my game up a little bit before I start playing on the Tour again.”
The 32-year-old had declined a wild card invitation to play at next week’s US Open due to concerns that he wouldn’t be fit enough to contest best-of-five set matches. He reached the second round of the tournament last year before losing to Fernando Vertdasco.
Murray’s return to the Challenger Tour is expected to be short lived. He has already confirmed his intention to play a duo of ATP Tournaments in Zhuhai and Shanghai. On Wednesday he added the European Open in Antwerp to his schedule, where a maximum of 250 ranking points will be on offer.
“With Andy Murray on our tournament poster, we are now reaching absolute world class and taking the European Open to an unprecedented level in Belgium.” Said tournament director Dick Norman.
Since his comeback in June, Murray has won one title on the ATP Tour. Doing so alongside Feliciano Lopez in the men’s doubles at The Fever-tree Championships.
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