RG: Murray stops a red hot Verdasco for his 13th straight major Quarters - UBITENNIS
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RG: Murray stops a red hot Verdasco for his 13th straight major Quarters

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TENNIS RG – Andy Murray has once again put himself in contention for another major title. Despite the clay courts of Roland Garros not being his favourite surface, one would not have figured that to be the case with his comprehensive victory over Fernando Verdasco in straight sets 6-4 7-5 7-6(3). Cordell Hackshaw

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

Andy Murray (7) has once again put himself in contention for another major title. Despite the clay courts of Roland Garros not being his favourite surface, one would not have figured that to be the case with his comprehensive victory over Fernando Verdasco (24) in straight sets 6-4 7-5 7-6(3). With this win, Murray has now reached an impressive 13th consecutive major quarterfinal. Having missed this tournament the last two years due to injury, Murray looked far more comfortable on the Suzanne Lenglen court than Verdasco, a known clay court specialist. There was not much to separate the two by the numbers. However, it was clear that Murray had a game plan against the Spaniard especially since he has a 9-1 record coming into this match. Verdasco on the other hand often looked lost and bewildered as he was unable to gain any real advantage over his opponent in the match.

Verdasco served to open the match with an easy service hold at love to go up 1-0. This would be just about the easiest service game he would have of the match as Murray constantly had him under pressure. Verdasco had his chances on the Murray’s serve as the players traded breaks in the early stages of the set. However, they remained on serve until the crucial 9th game when Verdasco deviated from the task of holding serve and saw Murray serving for the set at 5-4. Murray held easily to take the set 6-4. The second set was almost a repeat of the first as at the crucial moment in the set, the 11th game, Verdasco again surrendered his serve. It was as though Verdasco was unable to concentrate at these big moments in the match and Murray sensing this vulnerability, seized the opportunities to his advantage. He now led 6-4 7-5.

That magnificent form that saw Verdasco easily dismissing Gasquet in the 3rd round was not present on this day against Murray. Murray was showing his brilliance in nearly all areas of the court and was simply too good for the Spaniard. “[H]e had played I think very deep, very good shots, very good control, close to the lines…I played short, many shots. He was able to step in, and he did it pretty well.” Verdasco surmised after the match. In the 3rd set, Murray took the early lead 3-1 and had break points to go up 4-1. In that pivotal 5th game, Verdasco saved 5 break points to hold serve. It seemed as though the Spaniard was going to fight his way back into the match as he later broke Murray in the 8th game to get back on serve. This was after some high drama between the Spaniard and the chair umpire Pascal Maria who asked Verdasco to serve again when an incorrect call was made on his serve. Verdasco refused claiming that Murray did not have a play on the ball and so the call was not a hindrance. Verdasco was adamant on this point and sat down refusing to serve again as it was game point. Eventually Murray conceded the point to move things along.

The players stayed on serve from here on end and the set was going to be decided in the tiebreaker. Murray took the early lead in the breaker 3-1 but Verdasco equalized the matter at 3-3 with some monster forehands. It looked like he was about to take charge of the set but it was not to be. Verdasco became erratic on the forehand wing again and Murray was up 5-3. Showing his superior defensive and offensive skill, Murray closed out the match with a forehand smash 6-4 7-5 7-6(3) in about 3 hours. Murray had this to say about his performance, “I felt defensively I did a good job and offensively today. I was going to need to do that, because against him, you know, like I say, he has a big game, so he can make you do a lot of running and you need to try to, yeah, to combat that sometimes playing good offense and sometimes by defending properly.” Murray will play the last Frenchman in the draw, Gael Monfils (23) in the quarterfinals and mentioned this about the matchup, “I’m looking forward to the match, the quarterfinals of a slam. I don’t care whether no one in the crowd wants me to win or everyone wants me to win. I will fight just as hard to try and get the right outcome.”

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Reaches Quarters In Cincinnati After Three-Set Win Over Sinner

The world number nine reached the quarterfinals after battling back to beat the Italian in three sets.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the quarterfinals of the Western and Southern Open after beating Jannik Sinner 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 26 minutes.

 

The Canadian served 14 aces and hit 29 winners in a match where he had to fight back from losing the first set on his way to sealing a spot in the final eight of the tournament.

“Jannik was just playing too good. I didn’t have a great start, I was missing a lot. But I just had no time. He was playing so fast, so precise, serving well. For a set and a half, it was just too good,” atptour.com quoted Auger-Aliassime as saying during his on-court interview. “That game he broke me in the second, returning on the baseline for three returns in a row, you can’t do much better, so I had to give it to him.
“But at the end, I was still on the court trying to find ways, trying to fight and trying to see how I could make him miss a few more balls and to put myself in a competing position and I did that well… To come back and play that way in the tie-break and the third set, that means a lot to me going forward.”

Sinner got the early break in the first set to take a 2-0 lead and broke a second time with the Montreal native serving to stay in the first set to seal it.

The second set stayed on serve until 3-2 when once again the Italian got the break of serve to take a 4-2 lead but Auger-Aliassime broke right back the following game. The set was eventually decided by a tiebreaker in which the world number nine raced out to a 4-0 lead, hitting some solid forehands and it looked like he had turned the match around. He won the breaker only losing a single point and sent the match into a deciding set.

The number seven seed kept the momentum going by breaking in the first game of the third set. He then earned a double break lead and was up 3-0 and broke a third time for a 4-1. Auger-Aliassime served out the match to book a date with Borna Coric who beat the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes.

The pair have met twice before in 2019. Auger-Aliassime won their encounter in Miami but Coric triumphed in Rome.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Quarterfinals Featuring Medvedev/Fritz and Alcaraz/Norrie

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Daniil Medvedev this week in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

Friday’s ATP singles quarterfinals feature six of the top 13 players in the world.  By contrast, in the WTA singles draw, the top five seeds have all been eliminated, and only two seeds remain.

 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (11) – Not Before 1:00pm on Center Court

Medvedev has earned both his wins this week in straight sets, while Fritz came back from a set down on Thursday to defeat Daniil’s close friend Andrey Rublev.  The 24-year-old American is having the best year of his career, with a record of 35-13.  Taylor is on the verge of breaking into the top 10, and would be even closer to doing so had he received points for his run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.  He earned his first Masters 1000 title at another North American hard court event earlier this year in Indian Wells.  In their first career meeting, Fritz has the firepower to pull off the upset, especially with a partisan crowd behind him.  But on a hard court, Medvedev remains the favorite to reach his third semifinal in Cincinnati.


Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – Last on Center Court

This will be their fourth meeting within the past year, and thus far, all three have gone to Alcaraz.  That includes straight sets wins at the US Open and Indian Wells, and a three-set victory in Madrid on clay.  As impressive as Norrie has been across the past 18 months, no one has skyrocketed to new heights this past year like Alcaraz.  The 19-year-old is now 44-8 in 2022.  However, the sheer amount of tennis the youngster has played this year is concerning, despite his high level of fitness.  And many of those matches have been grueling, dramatic affairs.  Given his recent history with Norrie, Carlitos should be favored, though an upset by the British No.1 would not be a shocking result.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Madison Keys vs. Elena Rybakina – Keys upset world No.1 Iga Swiatek on Thursday.  Both Keys and Rybakina are yet to drop a set this week.  When they played at this year’s Roland Garros, Madison prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Ajla Tomljanovic (Q) vs. Petra Kvitova – Tomljanovic has survived four consecutive three-setters, going back to the last round of qualifying on Sunday.  Kvitova took out Ons Jabeur on Thursday. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. John Isner – Tsitsipas lead their head-to-head 4-2, and has taken their last four meetings.  Stefanos is vying for his third consecutive semifinal at this event.  Isner was a finalist here in 2013.

Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Caroline Garcia – Pegula is now No.3 in the year-to-date rankings, with a record of 30-15.  However, Garcia has slightly bested that record, as she’s now 32-15 this season.  Jess is 2-1 against Caroline, though the Frenchwoman claimed their only meeting in 2022.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (7) vs. Borna Coric (Q) – Auger-Aliassime saved two match points on Thursday night in a comeback victory over Jannik Sinner.  Coric followed up his upset of Rafael Nadal by defeating another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut.  Felix and Borna split two encounters back in 2019. 


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Andy Murray Outlines ‘Big Concern’ About His Current Fitness Ahead Of US Open

The 35-year-old is looking to see if he can find a reason behind his latest problem on the Tour.

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Andy Murray (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Britain’s Andy Murray has admitted that he is alarmed about the frequency of cramping he is experiencing during matches played in North America this season.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion crashed out of the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday after losing in three sets to compatriot Cameron Norrie. During the closing stages of their encounter, it was visible that Murray was once again struggling with cramps. A condition that occurs when a muscle shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move.

It is usual for athletes to experience cramps but for Murray the issue is a ‘big concern’ for him. Saying that this year is the first time in his career he has suffered from the issue on a regular basis.

“I think pretty much every tennis player in their career has cramped usually in these sorts of conditions,” Murray said during his press conference.
“But the consistency of it for me is a big concern. It’s not something that I have really experienced. I have experienced cramping but not consistently like over a number of tournaments.
“It’s a big concern for me because it’s not easy to play when it gets bad like it was at the end (of his match against Norrie). I feel like it had an impact on the end of the match.”

Murray says his cramping occurs ‘predominantly’ in his legs but different parts. The former world No.1 is now looking into seeing if he can find a possible explanation as to what might be triggering the cramps. The issue comes less than two weeks before the start of the US Open.

“It’s a big concern for me that and something that I need to address and find a solution for,” he said. “No one knows exactly why cramps happen. There are many reasons, whether its hydration, whether it’s the food that you have taken in, whether it’s fatigue and lack of conditioning, stress.’
“I need to try and understand what’s going on there.”

Since Wimbledon, Murray has achieved a win-loss record of 3-4 on the Tour with his best run being to the quarter-finals in Newport. He is currently ranked 47th in the world.

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