Andy Murray Survives Blip To Triumph In First Wimbledon Singles Match Since 2017 - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Survives Blip To Triumph In First Wimbledon Singles Match Since 2017

Now playing with a metal hip, Murray staged a fairy-tale return to The All England Club.

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Andy Murray (GBR) in action on Centre Court in the Gentlemen's Singles first round against Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 28/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Two-time champion Andy Murray has returned to the winner’s circle at Wimbledon after knocking out world No.28 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, in a roller-coaster encounter.

 

The Monday evening showdown marked a return of the 34-year-old to singles competition at The All England Club after a four-year hiatus. During that period he has undergone multiple hip surgeries, pondered retirement and been blighted by other physical issues, including ‘freak’ a groin problem that affected him earlier this season.

Despite his previous adversity, Murray’s hunger and drive to win was no different to that of the past. He led the match by two sets and 5-0 before suffering a seven-game losing streak. Despite the blip, he still managed to come out on top. Spurred on by the rowdy crowd, the Brit fired a total of 37 winners en route to what was both an emotional and frustrating victory.

“It’s amazing to be back out here again playing on Centre Court. It was such a brilliant atmosphere,” said Murray. “It’s something that since I came back I have missed over the past eight, nine months playing in front of fans. It was an amazing reception.”

Taking to the court, Murray faced a stern test against the Georgian. 24th seed Basilashvili has already won two Tour titles this year and recently reached the semi-finals in Halle, Germany. However, the former world No.1 was up for the challenge. There was little to distinguish between the two players throughout the opening set but it was two mistakes by Basilashvili which cost him. Leading 5-4, 30-30, Murray earned his first set point after a backhand drop shot from his rival failed to go over the net. Then in the following point, another Basilashvili backhand error rewarded him the 6-4 lead.

It was a case of deja vu in the second frame with Murray continuing to dictate the rallies and moved the ball onto his rival’s weaker backhand side. Although ironically it was a Basilashvili forehand into the net which gave him his second break of the match and a chance to serve for a two-set lead. A task he passed with flying colours with the help of a delicate drop shot to finish off the set.

Andy Murray (GBR) in action against Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) in the first round of the Gentlemen’s Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 28/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Bob Martin

The Murray offensive began to overwhelm his higher ranked opponent who became more erratic as the match progressed. Playing into the hands of the fired up three-time Grand Slam champion. A five-game winning streak placed Murray on the verge of victory until a dramatic turn of events.

He started to look tentative on the court as nerves started to take their toll on him. Much to the surprise of the Wimbledon crowd whose cheers started to turn into gasps of shock. Out of nowhere Basilashvili regained his footing by making fewer mistakes and unexpectedly turned his 0-5 deficit into clinching the set 7-5. Suddenly the fairytale return of Murray was starting to turn into a nightmare. On top of that, the match was then halted for more than 15 minutes whilst the roof was put on amid concerns of incoming rain.

Resuming play, both players exchanged breaks before Murray once again restored his lead. Mixing up the pace of his shot-making managed to nudge ahead 3-1 in the fourth set. Weathering the storm, he moved once again to four points away from victory but this time he sealed victory after a backhand from his rival slammed into the net.

“I was disappointed that I lost the third (set) and I had to remember kinda what it was I was doing that got me into the winning position. I cut out some drop shots, I think I served slightly better in the fourth set and I managed to turn it around,” Murray commented on his performance.

The victory is only Murray’s third win on the ATP Tour this season. In recent times there has been questions over how much longer he will continue playing and he has previously vowed to play every match like it would be his last. However, the world No.118 has stated that he is not contemplating retirement anytime soon.

“It’s been extremely tough, even these last few months. I didn’t have the most serious of injuries but it has been extremely frustrating not being able to get on the court,” he said.
“I’ve had such little momentum over the last few years. I just kept trying, working hard in the gym and doing all the right things to get me back into this position.’
“I keep getting asked if this is going to be my last Wimbledon. I don’t know what I keep getting asked, no, I’m gonna keep playing. I can still play at the highest level. He’s (Basilashvili) ranked 28th in the world and I have hardly played any matches and I have beaten him. So I’m going to keep going.”

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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