Andy Murray Stuns Berrettini In Australian Open Thriller - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Stuns Berrettini In Australian Open Thriller

In what was an electrifying clash on the Rod Laver Arena, the former world No.1 battled on court for almost five hours before securing victory.



Image via ATP Twitter

Andy Murray has recorded his first win over a top 20 player at a Grand Slam since 2017 after knocking 13th seed Matteo Berrettini out of the Australian Open. 

Murray, who has reached the final at Melbourne Park on five previous occasions, rolled back the years with a marathon 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(10-6), win. In doing so he has ended his three-match losing streak against 2022 semi-finalist Berrettini who has now lost in the first round of the Australian Open three times in his career. The triumph is the Brit’s most high-profile win on the Tour since last June when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Stuttgart Open.

Playing in his 56th Grand Slam main draw, Murray’s latest performance featured a total of 39 winners against 34 unforced errors. He also won 72% of his first service points and dropped serve only once. The victory is also Murray’s first of the season.

“I’ll be feeling this evening and tomorrow but I’m just unbelievably happy,” Murray said during his on-court interview. 
“I put a lot of work into the last few months with my team, to give me the opportunity to perform in matches like this and it paid off tonight.
“Some of the tennis felt really good. He was unbelievable and a brilliant competitor.”

The former world No.1 settled into the match almost instantly as he roared his way to a two-set lead without dropping his serve in under 90 minutes. Much to the frustration of his opponent who was struggling to find consistency in his shot-making and failed to successfully utilise his usually trustworthy forehand. 

However, Murray encountered his first blip when he was on the verge of sealing a straightforward win. Leading 6-3, 6-3, 2-2, he had two break point chances but failed to convert both of them. Then to add to his problems a rejuvenated Berrettini ponced in the following game by breaking en route to snatching the third set. The Italian won 21 out of 24 points played behind his first serve during the third set which was a substantial improvement compared to the first two. 

Continuing his comeback, Berrettini went on to level proceedings after surviving what was a tense fourth frame where twice he had to serve to stay in the match and was at one stage two points away from defeat. Then in the tiebreaker, he saw two set points come and go before he prevailed in a 17-shot rally that ended with a Murray forehand error. 

With all to play for in the decider, alarm bells started to ring for Murray when he was heard saying towards his camp ‘my focus has gone.’ Nevertheless, both players continued to match each other game-by-game until 5-4 when Berrettini became the first to earn a match point but failed to convert after collapsing when trying to hit a backhand passing shot. 

Avoiding the danger, a tiring Murray came out on top in the final tiebreaker which he began perfectly by winning five points in a row. This was enough of a margin to help him cross the finish line as he closed the match out with a lucky net cord in his favour. 

“That’s the first time I’ve played a match tiebreaker, first to 10, and it’s a bit different,” said Murray.
“It feels like you are still far away. He came away strong and I was lucky at the end. But it felt like the tennis at the end was really good. He was serving unbelievable and he’s a brilliant competitor – one of the best – he always fights to the end.”

Murray’s latest victory at Melbourne Park is the 50th in his career. In the Open Era, only four other men have reached that milestone at the tournament – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stefan Edberg. Coincidentally, his latest match was also the 50th time in the Open Era there has been a Grand Slam clash between a British and Italian player. 

Murray, who is currently coached by Ivan Lendl, has now reached the Australian Open second round in 12 out of 15 appearances. He will next play either Fabio Fognini or Thanasi Kokkinakis.


Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream



Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid



Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon



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Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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