Andy Murray crushes David Goffin at the BNP Paribas Masters - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray crushes David Goffin at the BNP Paribas Masters

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Andy Murray in action at the 2015 BNP Paribas Masters in Paris (imasge via AFP)

Andy Murray breezed into the last eight of the BNP Paribas Masters after thrashing world No.16 David Goffin 6-0, 6-1.

The encounter was a dress rehearsal for both men ahead of next months Davis Cup final. Great Britain will face Belgium at the Flanders Expo in Ghent, Belgium. Being the highest ranked players for both of their countries, it is expected that the two will battle against each other for the Davis Cup title.

The biggest factor to infuriate Murray didn’t occur on the court. It was during the change over when a ball kid accidently threw a ball at him.

The British No.1 went off guns blazing as as he dominated the Belgian at the start of the match by winning 12 out of the first 14 points of the match to change to a 3-0 lead after just seven minutes. The powerful shots fired from Murray’s racket proved too much for Goffin to manage as he at times struggled to return them. The aggressive start from the 2nd seed was stopped in the fourth game as Goffin got his first game on the scoreboard with a forehand crosscourt shot. Nevertheless, Murray remained the dominant player on the court as he produced a spectacular backhand winner to break the world No.16 for the second time to lead 5-1. Serving for the opening set Murray produced a below-par game to hand his Belgian rival a break point opportunity, but Goffin was unable to convert as the Brit battled back to deuce. Murray took the set after winning a 24-shot rally thanks to an unforced error from Goffin, his 12th of the match. Throughout the opening set Murray lost just one point behind his first serve and produced 10 winners.

Murray continued his attacking play in the following set as he recovered from 0-40 down to break Goffin with a spectacular forehand shot as the Belgian glared towards his camp watching him. The trouble for the Belgian was the speed of Murray’s returning. As soon as Goffin finished his service motion, the ball was already back to him. The at times fragile serve from the Belgian played into the hands of Murray as he charged to another break point chance in the third game of the second set to lead by a set and 3-0. The Brit easily converted the point after a shot into the net from from Goffin.  Despite trailing to Murray, Goffin kept on fighting. In the fifth game of the second set he fended off four break points before succumbing to the fifth as Murray broke for a chance to serve for the match. The task was easy for the Brit as he produced a sublime backhand down the line on his first match point to grab the victory.

During his outstanding 52-minute match, Murray produced 8 aces, 22 winners, 8 unforced errors and won 90% of his first service points. The straightforward win by Murray is Goffin’s heaviest defeat since the 2013 Rotterdam Open where the Belgian lost 6-0, 6-0 to Jarkko Nieminen.

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Roland Garros 2024: ‘Proud’ Iga Swiatek Seeks Consistent Improvement

Iga Swiatek continues to find improvement despite her dominance ahead of her Roland Garros opener.

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Iga Swiatek had admitted she is ‘proud’ of her clay court season but is seeking consistent improvement over the rest of the season.

The world number one is aiming for a third consecutive Roland Garros title and heads into Paris in dominant form.

Titles in Madrid and Rome with two contrasting wins over Aryna Sabalenka means she is the overwhelming favourite heading into the fortnight.

Speaking ahead of her opening match Swiatek spoke about how she is a better tennis player from 2022 and how proud she is of her clay court season so far, “I think I’m a better player because I just grew and I worked hard during the past two years,” Swiatek explained in her press conference.

“I feel like I’m progressing, so I guess I should be a better tennis player. Comparing the results, or my feelings, two years ago it was all kind of new for me, and I think I won so many matches also because nobody really expected it.

“When the streak started, I wasn’t even second in the rankings, so I think other players were also unprepared maybe for my game sometimes. Now it’s different. Now they are prepared, and I feel like I keep having a target on my back, because I’m No. 1. So I think actually I’m more proud of what’s happening right now and winning all these titles this year already has shown that we are going on the right path.”

Despite her recent dominance, Swiatek isn’t resting on her laurels as she continues to seek improvement.

The Pole has been working on several areas on her game including the serve as she has become a more aggressive player over the last couple of years.

Swiatek spoke on the changes she has made with her coach as she seeks more consistent improvement, “Changing the technique, I think it allowed me to serve faster. We worked on my placement as well, so it got better for sure. I feel like I have more options when I’m serving,” Swiatek told the Roland Garros website.

“As you could see in Rome, for example, I had many situations when I was a break point down, and I was able to kind of save the game with my first serve. So this tournament showed that we are going in the right direction. Next goal is to keep my serve at a consistent level throughout the whole season. We’ll see how that’s going to go.

“But I think overall my coach from the beginning had a great idea about my serve. The other thing is me implementing it, so we are working hard for the movement to be smooth and to get muscle memory, so even under the biggest pressure and stress, I’m going to be serving the same way.”

Swiatek will begin her campaign against qualifier Leolia Jeanjean in her opening round match on Monday with potentially Naomi Osaka awaiting in round two.

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Rafael Nadal Clarifies Retirement Stance Ahead Of French Open Clash With Zverev

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Rafael Nadal has cooled down talk about retiring soon by telling reporters that this year’s French Open may not be his last. 

Speculation about Nadal’s future in the sport has mounted in recent months following a series of injury setbacks that have sidelined him from action. Last year he suffered a hip injury which brought a premature end to his season before encountering more physical issues in 2024. The upcoming French Open will be only the fifth tournament he has played since January. 

Speaking candidly to reporters on Saturday in Paris, Nadal admits that there is a ‘big, big chance’ that he might be making his final appearance at Roland Garros. However, he is not closing the door on his career just yet. 

“It’s a big, big chance that it’s going to be my last Roland Garros, but if I have to tell you it’s 100 per cent my last Roland Garros, sorry, but I will not, because I cannot predict what’s going on. I hope you understand.” Said Nadal. 
“Myself, I have been going through a long process of recovery with a very difficult injury, almost two years of suffering, a recovering process that seems like I feel better now.
“I am not a guy that reacts because I lost there or I lost in the other place, no? I react about my personal feelings, and my personal feelings are better now than one month and a half ago, without a doubt.
“So in some way I don’t want to close, 100 per cent, the door, because of a very simple thing.
“First thing, I am enjoying playing tennis. Second thing, I am travelling with the family. They are enjoying and I am enjoying sharing all this process with them.
“And the third thing, I was not able to explore yet the proper way how I will be able to play in more or less healthy conditions, playing without limitation.
“So give me some time. Maybe in one month and a half I say ‘OK it’s enough, I can’t keep going’, but today in some way I cannot guarantee that that’s going to be the last one. But of course it’s a big chance.”

The 37-year-old is the most decorated player in French Open history with 14 titles to his name. However, he faces a tricky opening match this year against Alexander Zverev in what will be a repeat of their semi-final meeting at the same tournament in 2022. Zverev recently won the Italian Open and is seeded fourth in the draw. 

“That’s part of the business when you are not seeded,” he commented on facing Zverev.
“Of course on the paper is not the best draw. I play against one of the toughest opponents possible. He came here winning the last event and it was a Masters 1000, not a small one (event).
“What can I do? That’s the draw. Just try to be ready for it.?

Nadal has never lost in the first round of the Grand Slam with his worst result occurring back in 2016 when he reached the third round before retiring. Overall, he has only been beaten twice at the event by Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling. If he does lose to Zverev, it will be the first time in his career he has suffered back-to-back Tour-level losses on the clay. 

Nadal currently leads Zverev 7-3 in their head-to-head. Their upcoming clash is scheduled to take place on Monday. 

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Roland Garros 2024: Practice Makes Perfect For Carlos Alcaraz In Roland Garros Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to overcome the pain barrier as he searches for Roland Garros glory.

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Carlos Alcaraz is bidding for a first Roland Garros title but the Spaniard will need to overcome the pain barrier in order to achieve his goal.

The world number three enters this year’s tournament with mixed preparations having suffered an injury during practice in Monte-Carlo.

Alcaraz failed to play in Barcelona, where he was defending champion, before exiting Madrid at the quarter-finals stage to eventual winner Andrey Rublev.

Despite Alcaraz’s lack of fitness, the Spaniard will feel he has a good chance of achieving a special landmark as he has the opportunity to win 75% of the career Grand Slam.

Speaking ahead of the fortnight Alcaraz admitted he is feeling better but needs to change some psychological feelings when hitting the forehand again, “I’m feeling better. At least I can practise, hit balls without pain. That’s a really good point for me,” Alcaraz explained in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I’m not feeling any pain in the practices when I step on the court. But I’m still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. Probably I’m gonna say I’m a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 percent. So I have to change it in my first match.”

Roland Garros holds a special place in Alcaraz’s heart having had good memories and matches in the past with the Spaniard reaching the semi-finals last year.

Now Alcaraz is aiming to win his maiden title in Paris as he continues his development at an elite level.

The Spaniard spoke about how special Roland Garros is and spoke about how wide open this year’s tournament is given the form and fitness of Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, “Right now, I don’t see a clear favourite to win the tournament, but there is a wide range of players who can do it,” Alcaraz explained.

“It’s Roland-Garros and it’s a really special tournament. Everybody wants to do good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I’m practicing every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.”

Alcaraz starts his Roland Garros on Sunday against lucky loser J.J. Wolf.

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