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ZODIAC

Found 22 results

  1. Injured - Andy Murray has been ruled out of the Australian OpenAndy Murray said he was "gutted" to be missing next month's Australian Open after being ruled out of the first Grand Slam of 2020 with a pelvic injury. The 32-year-old Scot suffered the injury playing for Britain in the Davis Cup last month and will also miss the inaugural ATP Cup team event across three Australian cities in early January. "I've worked so hard to get myself into a situation where I can play at the top level and I'm gutted I'm not going to be able to play in Australia in January," Murray said Saturday. "After the AO (Australian Open) this year, when I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to play again, I was excited about coming back to Australia and giving my best, and that makes this even more disappointing for me. "Unfortunately I've had a setback recently and as a precaution, need to work through that before I get back on court competing." Murray had hoped to make his return to Grand Slam action in Melbourne following a hip operation in January. But concerns over the fitness of the five-time losing Australian Open finalist were raised when he cancelled a scheduled block of training in Miami. As a result he won't be back at Melbourne Park, the scene of an emotional press conference this year where he suggested he might retire as a result of his hip injury. Despite being less than fully fit Murray played a gruelling five-set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut. A fortnight later the double Olympic gold medallist, twice a Wimbledon champion and the winner of the 2012 US Open singles, had hip resurfacing surgery and started his return to action at the Queen's Club grass-court event in London in June. October saw Murray win the European Open in Antwerp, a victory that suggested he could still contend for major honours. But the latest announcement means he will not play again until February at the earliest. "I know how excited Andy was about coming back to compete in Australia in January, and how disappointed he is not to make it for 2020," said Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley, who praised his "determination and iron will". "Although we will miss him in January, we wish him all the very best for his recovery and look forward to seeing him back on court very soon." The Australian Open takes place from January 20-February 2 with the ATP Cup acting as the new men's lead-up tournament in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane for 10 days from January 3.
  2. Fans love it when their favourite celebrity shares their personal life with them online, but Andy Murray may have just gotten a tad too personal. The tennis player recently underwent a hip resurfacing surgery and decided to share that with his 1.6 million followers on Instagram. He posted a picture of himself lying in the hospital bed after the surgery and another picture of an x-ray of his pelvic area to show everyone the metal hip. Pretty standard, right? Nothing out of the ordinary. View this post on Instagram I underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London yesterday morning...feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain ð I now have a metal hip as you can see in the 2nd photo ðð and I look like I've got a bit of a gut in photo 1ð A post shared by Andy Murray (@andymurray) on Jan 29, 2019 at 12:18am PST But, what he didn't realize was that he was sharing way more than he wanted to. Take a closer look at the x-ray. Notice something? © Instagram/Andy Murray Let's zoom in. © Instagram/Andy Murray Got it? So yeah, Andy probably didn't realize that the outline of his dick was on full display. I really do think that he does know now, but probably doesn't care about it enough to delete it. I mean, if it's out on the internet, it will be here forever. Andy Murry's ***** has caught everyone's attention and people are mainly just confused if he knows about it or not. does andy murray know his ***** is v visible on this x ray or what pic.twitter.com/gnqM0Cu1nY — Michael (@mj_hewitt) January 29, 2019 The spookiest for sure. Either I'm awful at biology or Andy Murray has just uploaded the spookiest dick pick of all time pic.twitter.com/TPZhn87ZzV — Finley (@FinnAKAFinn) January 29, 2019 It took some time, for sure. When @SamsBiceps and I play our new favorite game: “Find Andy Murray's *****.” ð© pic.twitter.com/p7Q7OdU4HD — Matthew (@MRisingStar18) January 29, 2019 A little more closer. Andy Murray's X-ray. Look closer ð pic.twitter.com/z9wNNgNPEk — N A T H A Nð´ó §ó ¢ó ·ó ¬ó ³ó ¿ðªðº (@Nathan_Saunders) January 29, 2019 He did it on hump day, it was meant to be. Thanks to Andy Murray for making my hump day by instagramming a photo of his dick. pic.twitter.com/HmIO2TcQAM — Blake Nadilo (@BlakeNadilo) January 29, 2019 It sure is! Is... is this an outline of @andy_murray's junk ðð pic.twitter.com/7P2tJcKqUM — Chris (@IAmChrisCoyle) January 29, 2019 Yes, thank you. Huge thanks to Andy Murray for sending the world an X-Ray dick pic this morning! pic.twitter.com/99vZpigiqc — Rachey (@BettyBlue168) January 29, 2019
  3. “Motivation and determination, that's what makes a true champion,“ and that's exactly what makes the person who said it, Sir Andy Murray, a legend. A person without whom the phrase, 'Four Horsemen of tennis' would be impossible. A few days ago, the tennis world suffered a major blow when the great Andy Murray opened up about his retirement plans, which he indicated to be just after the ongoing Australian Open. © Reuters But, who knew that we would witness such a heroic comeback from the former World No.1. despite going down in the first two sets, as he managed to gather all his remaining will and win the next two. Though he lost the match 4-6,4-6,7-6(5),7-6(4),6-1, he surely won our hearts by displaying his 'never give up attitude' on the court. “I believe you should give 100% on the court, and that's what I do,” is a statement given by the Scot, to which he fully complied to. The resilience of Murray is what makes him one of the best players in the world. The patience and the consistency he showed after going two sets down, shows what a true sportsperson he is. © Reuters Today, not only Murray or his mom, or his team would've sobbed, but the whole world sighed collectively over what could possibly be an end of a true era. If this was his final goodbye, it surely was the best he could have given, as by the end of the match he was visibly in pain and was hobbling around on the court. Although Murray lost eventually, his fans erupted on social media to show their affection and support towards the 3-time-Grand Slam Champion! We do not say goodbye to you ð¢ Thank you Andy ð¤ð¤ð¤♥ï¸#AndyMurray #AusOpen — Jahana Babayewa (@JahanaB) January 14, 2019 Warrior til the end! pic.twitter.com/mYFuh4182A — misterchungonfire (@mrchungonfire) January 14, 2019 Andy Murray's place in the history of the sport will be painted in bright and bold colours. — Ekekwe, Kester E (@ekekwe_) January 14, 2019 Never have I ever seen a standing ovation be given to a player who ends up second best. Andy, you have given tennis so much. Happy retirement, Sir Andy Murray! ð — Ronald D. Sampson (@RDSampson_25) January 14, 2019 Heartbroken I could never see him when he was in Melbourne but you're a legend, Sir Murray â¤ï¸ — Reena ⥠(@MendesinAction) January 14, 2019
  4. Andy Murray hasn´t ruled out returning from his troublesome hip injury in time for Wimbledon, according to his mother Judy. Photo: File LONDON: Andy Murray hasn't ruled out returning from his troublesome hip injury in time for Wimbledon,...
  5. Andy Murray has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International and did not say whether he would be able to play the year's first Grand Slam/AFP BRISBANE: Former world number one Andy Murray has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International in a major setback to his Australian Open preparations. He suffered a right hip injury in 2017 and has not played on the ATP tour since losing a tough five-setter to American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Murray said on Sunday he felt in great shape and that he was confident he would play in Brisbane. But the 30-year-old Scot issued a statement Tuesday announcing his withdrawal from the tournament, and did not say whether he would be able to play the year's first Grand Slam. Murray said he would stay in Brisbane as he "works towards returning to the tennis circuit". "I'm very disappointed to be withdrawing from the Brisbane International," he added. "I came here with every intention of making a strong start to the year, but sadly my team and I don't feel that I'm where I need to be just yet to compete at the highest level." Murray joins top seed and world number one Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the tournament late last week, on the sidelines.
  6. ABU DHABI: Andy Murray made his comeback from a nearly five months injury layoff, losing a one-set match to Spain´s Roberto Bautista Agut in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Friday. The former world number one, winner of three Grand Slam titles, lost 6-2 after filling in for Novak Djokovic, who was a late withdrawal Friday after a recurrence of pain in his right elbow. The 30-year-old Scot was last seen in action in his loss to Sam Querrey in Wimbledon and then shut down the season after that to recover from a niggling hip injury. Murray moved gingerly on the court and clearly showed the rust physically, although he never clutched his back or showed any overt signs of still carrying the injury. Refusing to run down several balls in the opening few games, he was more competitive towards the end, the highlight being a 12 minute 15 second battle to hold his serve at 1-5 down. However, the damage was already done as he lost his first two service games to go 0-4 down at one stage. Murray did not speak to the media, but told the court-side commentator: "Obviously I made a slow start and Roberto is one of the best players in the world. "When you haven´t competed for a while, it takes time to get up to that pace. I started to feel a bit better towards the end but I need to keep improving for sure. "It was nice to be able to play. I was just planning on stopping here for a couple of days on the way to Australia to get some practice in with the guys. "But obviously it was unfortunate that Novak was not able to play and I was here so I agreed to play a set and obviously I am happy to be able to come out here and play in front of everyone." South African world No14 Kevin Anderson continued his impressive run of form, dispatching world No5 Dominic Thiem 7-6 (6), 6-4 in one hour and 32 minutes. The US Open runner-up this year will meet Bautista Agut in the final Saturday after the Spaniard benefited from Djokovic´s late withdrawal from the tournament. The former world No1 Djokovic, winner of 12 Grand Slam titles, was expected to make his comeback after nearly five months of layoff due to an elbow injury, but felt pain in the same spot while practicing and withdrew. Anderson and Thiem traded one break each in the first set before the powerful service game of the tall South African helped him hold sway over the Austrian. Winner of all their three previous head-to-head matches on the ATP Tour, Anderson then broke Thiem in the opening game of the second set, and that proved decisive in the end. In the match to decide the fifth-sixth place, Russia´s Andrey Rublev beat Spain´s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4, 6-2. The highlight of what has traditionally been a men´s exhibition tournament will be the comeback match of the former women´s No1 Serena Williams on Saturday. The 36-year-old American, the most successful player in the history of women´s tennis with 23 grand slam titles, plays the reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in a match scheduled to be held before the men´s final. Williams was last seen in action winning the Australian Open this January. She then took a sabbatical and to give birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia, in September.
  7. World number one Andy Murray will miss next week's ATP Masters Series event in Cincinnati with a nagging hip injury that also forced him out of this week's Montreal event. The move brings into question Murray's status for the US Open, which starts August 28 in New York, and even if he is able to play, it remains to be seen how well he can perform after missing the two major hardcourt warm-up events for the Flushing Meadows fortnight. "Unfortunately I won't be playing in Cincinnati as I continue my recovery," Murray said Wednesday. "I always enjoy playing there and I look forward to returning next year. "I'm continuing to work hard on the court with the aim of being in New York." The 30-year-old Scotsman, who has topped the rankings since last November, could be overtaken this week by French Open champion Rafael Nadal if the Spaniard reaches this week's Montreal semi-finals. Nadal will be the number one seed next week in Cincinnati no matter how he fares in Canada this week. It will be the first time since 2010 that Nadal, who won at Cincinnati in 2010, has been top seed there. Wimbledon and Australian Open winner Roger Federer will be the second seed. He has won seven Cincinnati titles, including crowns in each of his past two appearances there in 2014 and 2015. This marks the first year since 2009 that Nadal and Federer are the two top seeds in Cincinnati.
  8. Rafael Nadal says he'll focus on the foes in front of him at the ATP Montreal Masters this week, and not on his chance to return to number one in the world. A semi-final run in Montreal would see the Spaniard supplant Britain's Andy Murray atop the rankings. "I don't even think about that now," Nadal said of number one. "I'm trying to have the right preparation now and that's it. "I'm going to keep trying to play the way I did in the first part of the season, so if I'm able to make that happen, I hope to have a chance to do well." The top seed is expected to open his campaign for a fourth Canadian title on Wednesday with a second-round meeting against either Croatian Borna Coric or Russian lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny. Murray is among the notable absentees from this key US Open tuneup. Novak Djokovic is taking off the rest of the season to rehab an elbow injury and US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has ended his 2017 campaign with a knee problem. Murray is trying to recover from a nagging hip injury in time for the final Grand Slam of the season that starts later this month in Flushing Meadows. Nadal claimed his 10th French Open title this year but bowed out in the fourth round at Wimbledon -- his fifth exit before the quarter-finals in his last five appearances at the All England Club. Roger Federer, who seized his 19th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, is also slated to open on Wednesday. Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina was due to open the night session against 14th-seeded American John Isner. Isner won back-to-back titles in Newport and Atlanta in July before withdrawing from last week's tournament in Washington with knee trouble. Kyrgios cruises In early matches on Monday, Australia's Nick Kyrgios romped past Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-2. Kyrgios, seeded 16th, had retired from his three previous matches -- at Queen's Club, Wimbledon and Washington. He was battling a left hip injury when he pulled out of the two grass court events in London, while in Washington last week he was booed off the court when he quit against 106th-ranked American Tennys Sandgren with a right shoulder injury. Kyrgios showed no sign of any physical problems on Monday, but then he was barely tested in the 51-minute win against Troicki, never facing a break point. He broke Troicki twice in each set and served eight aces to the Serb's two. Kyrgios said he's still feeling the injuries, but hopes to play through them with the US Open approaching. ?I just have to keep doing the right things," he said. "I'm getting a lot of treatment, trying to do my rehab every day. I'm doing everything I can." France's Gael Monfils shook off a slow start to beat American Steve Johnson 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-1. France's Benoit Paire also advanced, downing American Donald Young 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, but rising French star Lucas Pouille fell 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8) to American Jared Donaldson. Monfils was broken twice in a sluggish first set, but gradually found his range, firing 11 aces and saving the only other two break points he faced in the one-hour, 38-minute victory. "At 4-3 in the second set I started putting the ball in the court. I was able to move better," said Monfils who had his knees taped during the second set. "I was able to make it more difficult for him. From then on, I was able to get some more opportunities and I was able to make him have some doubts."
  9. Les Murray/AAP SYDNEY: Les Murray, a veteran broadcaster whose voice became synonymous with football in Australia, has died aged 71 after a long period of illness, his employer said Monday. Widely known as Mr Football, Murray was the face of soccer coverage at multicultural broadcaster SBS and played a prominent role in growing the sport´s popularity in a country where cricket and rugby are king. A member of FIFA´s ethics committee since 2006, Murray was born Laszlo Urge in Hungary in 1945, arriving in Australia as a refugee a decade later and changing his name. He began working for SBS in 1980, covering numerous World Cups and hosting various football-based programs. "The growth, popularity and success of football in Australia today is absolutely a reflection of his passion and advocacy for the game that he loved," SBS said in a statement announcing his death. Tributes flowed from across Australian football, with former English Premier League star and Socceroo Robbie Slater tweeting: "A massive loss for our game", while ex-national goalkeeper Mark Bosnich called it "a sad day for so many".
  10. Roger Federer moved into a 12th Wimbledon semi-final and within touching distance of a record eighth title Wednesday as injury-hit Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic crashed out on a dramatic day at the All England Club. Swiss maestro Federer eased to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) win over Milos Raonic to become the second oldest Wimbledon semi-finalist of the Open era. However, defending champion Murray, severely restricted by a right hip injury, was dethroned by Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-1. Three-time winner Djokovic was also heading for the exit after the second seed quit his quarter-final against Tomas Berdych with a right elbow injury while trailing 7-6 (7/2), 2-0. It means that Federer will face Berdych in Friday's semi-finals while Querrey will tackle Marin Cilic after the former US Open champion put out Gilles Muller, the conqueror of Rafael Nadal, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. Federer, 35, and playing in his 100th match at the All England Club on Wednesday, is the second oldest man to reach the semi-finals after Ken Rosewall, who finished runner-up in 1974 at the age of 39. "100 matches, I can't believe it, that's a lot," said Federer, who will succeed Rosewall as the oldest ever champion should he take the title and a 19th Grand Slam crown on Sunday. "I'm very happy my body kept me going over all these years. I'm very pleased with how I'm playing." Canadian sixth seed Raonic had knocked out Federer in the semi-finals in 2016, a defeat which led the Swiss superstar to shut down the rest of his season to rest a knee injury. On Wednesday, Federer matched the big-serving Canadian with 11 aces while crunching a spectacular 46 winners. He also saved all five break points he faced and has reached the semi-finals without dropping a set. On Friday, he will take an 18-6 career record over Berdych into their semi-final. One year after knocking out 2015 champion Djokovic in the third round, 29-year-old Querrey, the world number 28, accounted for Murray. The big American will be playing in his first semi-final at the majors at the 42nd time of asking. Murray's challenge petered out when he began limping off his right leg, his movement severely compromised by a recent hip problem. "I knew I wasn't going to do any major damage by playing so I wanted to try and see if it was possible to find a way at the end," said two-time champion Murray, reluctant to dwell on his injury. Hip, elbow problems for Murray, Djokovic "I have had a problem with the hip for a long time. It's sore. But I tried my best, I gave everything I had and I am proud of that. "It's disappointing to lose. It was an opportunity and I'm sad it's over." Querrey is the first American man in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick finished runner-up at Wimbledon in 2009. "I'm still in a state of shock. I'm glad I hit that last serve in," said Querrey, who finished with 27 aces and 70 winners. "I didn't start the best but I just kept swinging away and found my groove in the last two sets." The only consolation for Murray was that Djokovic's defeat means he will remain as world number one. Djokovic said a right elbow injury was to blame for his retirement against 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Berdych, a player he had defeated 25 times in 27 previous meetings. The Serb needed treatment at the end of the first set and was already dealing with a long-term right shoulder problem. Djokovic admitted that a long rest might be the best therapy. "There is a possibility that the doctors will propose surgery, but I don't think that is good," Djokovic told the Serbian press after his first Grand Slam retirement since the 2009 Australian Open quarter-finals. "To go be cut in a surgery or to poison myself with pills? none of these solutions is good. "A logical conclusion is that a rest and a longer break is a logical solution." Seventh seed Cilic reached his first Wimbledon semi-final having lost in the quarter-finals on his last three visits. Cilic, hoping to reach his second major final, has won all four of his meetings with Querrey, including three at Wimbledon in 2009, 2012 and 2015. The second of those encounters was the second longest match in Wimbledon history at five hours and 31 minutes, something Cilic doesn't want to experience again on Friday. "Hopefully it's not the longest one ever," he said.
  11. Rafael Nadal's bittersweet relationship with Wimbledon endured another twist Monday when he was knocked out in a five-set, fourth round epic by Luxembourg journeyman Gilles Muller. Nadal's stunning 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 defeat came after defending champion Andy Murray and seven-time winner Roger Federer had cruised into the last-eight in straight sets. The four hour and 48-minute stunner on Court One had the knock-on effect of pushing Novak Djokovic's last-16 clash against France's Adrian Mannarino back to Tuesday. Djokovic had been the last match scheduled on the court but officials chose to postpone the tie instead of shifting it to Centre Court where it could, if necessary, have been completed under lights. Just weeks after winning his 10th French Open title, Nadal was condemned to his fifth exit before the quarter-finals in his last five visits to Wimbledon. "It was not my best match against a very uncomfortable opponent," said world number two Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion. "Well done to him. He played great, especially in the fifth set but I fought to the last ball." Muller tired but thrilled Nadal converted just two of 16 break points, while Muller fired 30 aces and 95 winners. Muller, seeded 16th, will make his first Wimbledon quarter-final appearance against former US Open champion Marin Cilic on Wednesday. "Tired! It was a long match. I did really well in the first two sets then Rafa stepped it up and in the end it was just a big battle," said Muller, who won on a fifth match point, more than an hour and a half after his first. In a pulsating final set, which stretched to 95 minutes, Nadal saved two match points in the 10th game and two more in the 20th. In between, Muller had to fight off a break point in the 13th game and four more in the 19th. Nadal was always chasing the score and he finally cracked in the 28th game of the decider when he went long with a return. "I said, 'just give it a shot, go 100 percent', and it's a great feeling to be winning that match," added Muller whose only other win over the great Spaniard also came at Wimbledon, 12 years ago. Murray through Defending champion Murray reached a 10th successive Wimbledon quarter-final with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-4 win over France's Benoit Paire. World number one Murray will face Sam Querrey for a place in the semi-finals. "I thought I played well. Maybe a couple of sloppy service games in the first set but that was by far the best I'd hit the ball so far in the tournament. So I'm really pleased with that," said Murray. Only Federer and Jimmy Connors (11 each) have reached more consecutive Wimbledon quarter-finals than Murray. Murray's win meant that with Johanna Konta also making the last-eight in the women's tournament, it is the first time since 1973 that Britain has two players in the quarter-finals. Federer reached his 50th Grand Slam quarter-final and 15th at Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov. The Swiss star will now face Milos Raonic, the 2016 runner-up, after the sixth-seeded Canadian clinched a 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Alexander Zverev of Germany, the 10th seed. Raonic defeated Federer in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2016. Federer, 35, is the second oldest man to make the quarter-finals at Wimbledon behind Ken Rosewall who was 39 when he reached the last-eight in 1971. "I'm thrilled to be back in the quarters again," said Federer who took his record over Dimitrov to 6-0. - Safety issue - The All England Club defended the decision not to switch Djokovic against Mannarino to Centre Court. "It was determined the match could not be moved to Centre Court due to the number of spectators remaining in the grounds," said a statement. "As late as 8:30pm, 30,000 people still remained in the grounds, and therefore moving the match would have created a significant safety issue. "Both players were explained the rationale of postponing the match." Querrey, the US 24th seed who knocked out Djokovic in 2016, made the quarter-finals for a second successive year with a 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-7 (13/11), 6-3 over unseeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa. Seventh seeded Cilic downed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Cilic will look to reach his first semi-final at the All England Club when he faces Muller. Czech 11th seed Tomas Berdych downed eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Berdych, the 2010 runner-up, will face either three-time champion Djokovic or Mannarino for a place in the semi-finals.
  12. Andy Murray reacts during the match/AFP LONDON: Andy Murray survived a scare at Wimbledon on Friday but eventually overcame volatile Italian Fabio Fognini in four sets with a dramatic surge to dig himself out of trouble. The British defending champion triumphed 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Centre Court, winning five consecutive games in the fourth set and saving five set points to book himself a spot in the fourth round. Murray struggled to find his rhythm throughout the match or read what was his third unpredictable opponent in a row after Alexander Bublik and Dustin Brown. The world number one faces France´s unseeded Benoit Paire on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals. "I served it out really well to finish. But it was a very up and down match. I didn´t feel like it was the best tennis at times. It was a little bit tense but I managed to get through," Murray said. "It´s obviously difficult when you´re playing a guy who has all of the shots like him. He generates power with very short swings. It´s difficult to see when he´s going to hit the ball big. He was taking me out of my rhythm. "It was also getting dark towards the end. We would probably had to have come off and closed the roof had I lost that fourth set so you´re thinking a little bit about that as well, a change of conditions and a 20-minute break to think about things before playing a fifth set. So obviously pleased to get off in four." Murray had been struggling with a hip problem before Wimbledon but insisted it had not flared up and hampered him during his third round match with 28th seed Fognini. "I feel ok. I didn´t feel like I moved as well as I did in the first couple of matches but I´ve got a couple of days´ break now where I can work on that and hopefully get myself in a good rhythm over the weekend and come out and play some good tennis on Monday," he said. "I´m happy to get through the first week and anything can happen from now." Fognini was docked a point for obscene behaviour. After losing a point, Fognini responded by sucking on his finger. It was deemed an obscene gesture by umpire Damien Dumusois and, having already been warned for abuse of his racket, Fognini was docked a point and lost the game. Fognini, one of the more combustible players on the tour, already owns the record for the biggest single fine in Wimbledon history after being penalised $27,500 in 2014. "He won. That´s sport. But it´s OK," said Fognini. "Right now I don´t feel really happy but I´m really happy about my performance, my tennis." Federer and Djokovic take centre stage Roger Federer celebrates winning the second round match against Serbia?s Dusan Lajovic/Reuters Centre Court fans at Wimbledon will be hoping to see a bit more of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on Saturday when they play back-to-back third round matches. The last time Djokovic and Federer played successive matches on tennis´ most famous stage, fans were left short changed as both of their first-round opponents quit midway through the second set with injuries. Latvia´s Ernests Gulbis, once a top 10 player but now ranked 589th, and Germany´s Mischa Zverev are unlikely to disappear quite as easily however, and are likely to pose the first real tests to Djokovic and seven-times champion Federer. Women´s top seed Angelique Kerber has been finding her grasscourt feet following her struggles in the first half of the season and will be hoping to continue her resurgence against American Shelby Rogers. Agnieszka Radwanska, runner-up here in 2012, will open Centre Court proceedings against Swiss Timea Bacsinszky. Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be back to complete the fifth set of his encounter against Djokovic´s 2016 conqueror Sam Querrey. With additional input from Reuters
  13. Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams breezed into the third round at Wimbledon on Wednesday, while fellow former champion Petra Kvitova tumbled out. Williams, Kei Nishikori and Johanna Konta had to grind their way into the last 32, while new mum Victoria Azarenka continued her comeback bid for Grand Slam glory. Dustin Brown, the dreadlocked German with Jamaican roots, knocked out Nadal in the second round two years ago at the All England Club. However, world number one Murray was not caught out by his extrovert drop shots, racing to a ruthless 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory on Centre Court. "Once I got the break in the first set, I felt the momentum was with me. I started to see the shots he was going to play a little but quicker and that allowed me to get to some of the drop volleys," the British star said. Next up for Murray is a clash with colourful Italian 28th seed Fabio Fognini. Fourth seed Nadal, fresh from winning a historic 10th French Open, had a comfortable ride against fellow left-hander Donald Young of the United States, the Spaniard winning 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. He faces Russian 30th seed Karen Khachanov next. "I'm happy now, it's great to be back in the third round without losing a set," Nadal said. "I take it easy now, just trying to enjoy every moment. I'm having a great season." Kvitova feeling sick Two-time champion Petra Kvitova, the bookmakers' title favourite, lost 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to Madison Brengle of the United States. Kvitova, playing in her second Grand Slam since recovering from a terrifying knife attack in her home, needed medical assistance during the third set. "I just could not breathe, and I was feeling a bit sick," the Czech 11th seed said. "I felt like an animal. But a very slow animal." Troubled US five-time champion Williams survived a scare against Chinese rising star Wang Qiang, eventually winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Williams is trying to concentrate on tennis against the backdrop of impending legal action back home over a fatal car crash. "The past is something that you can't change, if it was good or bad. I like to live in the future. I don't want to think about the past, per se. It's done," she said. Williams next faces Japan's Naomi Osaka, who ousted Czech 22nd seed Barbora Strycova. Former world number one Azarenka, playing her first Grand Slam tournament since giving birth to first child Leo in December, knocked out Russian 15th seed Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3. She hopes to become the first mother to win the Wimbledon singles since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. "It's really fun that I'm able to go home and spend time with my son," the Belarusian said. Azarenka next faces British wildcard Heather Watson, who downed Latvian 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova. Big day for Brits British sixth seed Konta reached the Wimbledon third round for the first time with a marathon 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 10-8 win over Donna Vekic which left her opponent in tears. With Konta, Watson, Murray and Aljaz Bedene's wins, four British players have reached the Wimbledon third round for the first time since 1997. But Murray said: "I'd rather set the goal at reaching second weeks and quarter-finals and contending for Slams." Nishikori dug deep to keep his Wimbledon hopes alive as the Japanese ninth seed ground out a 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-1, 7-6 (8/6) win over Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky. He next faces Spanish 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Fans shielded their faces from the sun with towels, programmes and napkins as temperatures reached 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), while several players bothered by an invasion of flying ants. "I almost wanted to stop because they were hitting you in the face when you were trying to hit balls," said Sam Querrey. The American and his fellow seeds Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Muller, Steve Johnson made it through. Russia's temperamental Daniil Medvedev, who had knocked out world number three Stan Wawrinka, crashed out to Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans. Medvedev threw coins at the umpire's chair before apologising for the bizarre gesture which he insisted was not meant to imply the official was corrupt. In the women's draw, second seed Simona Halep went through in straight sets, while fellow seeds Elina Svitolina (4th) and Dominika Cibulkova (8th) also made it. French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko joined them in the third round with a late evening three-set win over Canadian qualifier Francoise Abanda.
  14. Venus Williams wept at Wimbledon over the "devastation" of a fatal road accident for which she is facing legal action as Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal eased into the second round on Monday. World number three Stan Wawrinka was the opening day's biggest casualty, losing to Russian debutant Daniil Medvedev while there were emotional comeback wins for Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka. Williams, the 37-year-old five-time champion, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her maiden appearance at the All England Club. But that landmark has been overshadowed by her involvement last month in a road accident near her Florida home which resulted in the death of a 78-year-old man. "There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and -- yeah. I'm completely speechless. It's just..." Williams said in a news conference before breaking down and leaving to compose herself. The family of Jerome Barson, who suffered a fractured spine and numerous internal injuries in the smash, said they intend to sue the US star. When she was asked how she was coping mentally, Williams added: "I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. That's all I can say about it. That's what I've learned." Despite the tragedy at home, Williams remained focused enough on Court One to clinch a 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 victory over Belgium's Elise Mertens in the first round. Defending men's champion Murray celebrated the news that he is about to become a father again by reaching the second round. The top seed and world number one downed Kazakh lucky loser Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, showing little sign of the hip problem which plagued him in the build-up. "I have felt OK the last few days and the adrenaline you feel by playing a match numbs any pain you may have," said the British star after seeing off world number 134 Bublik. Murray next faces Dustin Brown, the man who knocked out Nadal two years ago. German world number 97 Brown came back from a set and a break down to beat Portugal's Joao Sousa 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4. Joy for Kvitova, Azarenka World number two and two-time champion Nadal secured his 850th career victory with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 demolition of Australia's John Millman. Fresh from winning his 10th French Open title, Nadal goes on to face Donald Young for a place in the last 32. "I haven't had many matches on grass for the last few years, but I had some positive feelings," said Nadal, who missed last year's tournament with a wrist injury. Swiss fifth seed and French Open runner-up Wawrinka was knocked out by Russia's Daniil Medvedev, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. World number 49 Medvedev, making his Wimbledon debut, handed 33-year-old Wawrinka a sixth first round loss at the All England Club, although his efforts were hampered by a left knee injury which required an ice pack at the changeovers. "I wasn't feeling the way I wanted to feel. But I played against a great player who was confident," said Wawrinka whose pain was eased slightly when girlfriend Donna Vekic won her opening match. Medvedev, 21, kissed the Centre Court grass to celebrate his victory, his first at any Slam. "A year ago I was ranked 250. If someone told me in one year I would win on Centre Court I would tell you you are joking," said the wirey Russian. There was plenty of emotion too for 2011 and 2014 Kvitova as the popular Czech downed Sweden's Johanna Larsson 6-3, 6-4. Kvitova was playing just her eighth match since suffering a potentially career-ending hand injury fighting off a knife-wielding burglar at her home in December. "I felt the energy from the crowd and it was amazing to be back here at Wimbledon and playing on the beautiful Centre Court," the 27-year-old said. Former world number one Azarenka defeated CiCi Bellis of the United States 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in her first Grand Slam since taking time off after last year's French Open to have her first child Leo in December. The two-time Australian Open champion made the semi-finals at the All England Club in 2011 and 2012. "I understand that I need to be patient but the competitor in me wants everything quick," admitted Azarenka. Nick Kyrgios, who beat Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014, will not get another opportunity to repeat that shock. The combustible 20th seeded Australian was 6-3, 6-4 down to France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert when he called it quits after failing to shake off the hip injury which has plagued him in recent weeks. Women's second seed Simona Halep, blasted off court in the French Open final by Jelena Ostapenko, downed New Zealand qualifier Marina Erakovic 6-4, 6-1. Ostapenko, the 2014 Wimbledon junior champion, saw off Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-0, 1-6, 6-3.
  15. LONDON: Defending champion Andy Murray and fellow two-time winner Rafael Nadal take centre stage on the first day of Wimbledon on Monday, keen to deliver early hammer blows to any doubts over their title aspirations. Top seed and world number one Murray opens proceedings on Centre Court insisting a hip problem will not prevent him from dispatching Kazakh lucky loser Alexander Bublik. The weekend news that the 30-year-old Scot is to become a father for the second time will also be an extra incentive to make it a tournament to remember. Nadal, the champion in 2008 and 2010 and a three-time runner-up, missed last year´s championships because of a wrist injury. Since making the final in 2011, he has lost to opponents outside the top 100 on four occasions. Australia´s John Millman, his first round rival on Monday, is the current 137. Elsewhere on the opening day, former world number one Victoria Azarenka plays her first Slam since becoming a mother while two-time champion Petra Kvitova is sure to receive a warm Centre Court welcome as she steadily rebuilds her career after being attacked by a knifeman in her home last December. Murray is looking to become the first British player -- man or woman -- to defend a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry won Wimbledon from 1934-36. Meanwhile, Bublik, the world number 134, is making his grass court debut. Murray, who has a 29-0 record against players outside the top 100, insists his recent hip problems are behind him. "I´ll be fine to play the event and play seven matches," he said. Nadal is bidding to record his 850th tour-level match-win and become just the seventh player in history to reach the landmark. It´s also his 50th match at Wimbledon. Millman is playing just his second match of the year after missing five months with a hip injury. Nadal on high after French Open Nadal, on a high after his record-setting 10th French Open title just three weeks ago, will not be under-estimating the Australian after his recent experiences at Wimbledon. The 31-year-old Spaniard lost to world number 100 Lukas Rosol in 2012, number 135 Steve Darcis in 2013, Nick Kyrgios, the 144, in 2014 the 102-ranked Dustin Brown in 2015. "This is a tournament that you can go out very early. But at the same time, if I am able to go through at the beginning, I think I´m with confidence," said Nadal. Venus Williams marks her 20th Wimbledon anniversary with a tie against Belgium´s Elise Mertens who she defeated in the third round of Roland Garros. However, the 37-year-old five-time champion arrives in London facing a wrongful death suit after she was involved in a fatal car crash in Florida. An elderly man in the other vehicle suffered head injuries in the collision and died on June 22. Kvitova, whose career was almost ended by the injuries caused fighting off an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic, takes on Sweden´s Johann Larsson, the world 53. In the absence of Serena Williams (pregnant) and Maria Sharapova (injured), Kvitova finds herself in the position of favourite for a third title to add to her 2011 and 2014 triumphs. "Sitting on the couch at home, I didn´t think about Wimbledon at first," said recent Birmingham grass court champion Kvitova as she described her recovery. "But then when the time, about the end of the March, I took the racquet for the first time to my hand, I was starting to think I would love to be back in Wimbledon." Azarenka, who starts against Catherine Bellis of the United States, will be playing her first Grand Slam since taking time off after last year´s French Open to have her first child Leo in December. The two-time Australian Open champion made the semi-finals at the All England Club in 2011 and 2012. Kim Clijsters, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong are the only women to have won a Grand Slam after having a child. Elsewhere on day one, men´s fifth seed Stan Wawrinka, looking to complete the career Slam faces Russia´s Daniil Medvedev while combustible Australian Nick Kyrgios kicks off play on Court Three against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France. French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, the 2014 Wimbledon junior champion, takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus. Second seed Simona Halep, blasted off court in the Paris final by Ostapenko, faces New Zealand´s Marina Erakovic.
  16. Defending champion Novak Djokovic crashed out of the French Open on Wednesday, sparking fresh fears over his appetite for the sport he once dominated as Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray made the semi-finals. World number two Djokovic slumped to a stunning 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0 quarter-final loss to Dominic Thiem for his earliest exit in Paris in seven years. Nadal, chasing a 10th Roland Garros title, will face 23-year-old Thiem after making the last four without breaking sweat. He was 6-2, 2-0 up on Pablo Carreno Busta when his Spanish compatriot quit with an abdominal injury. Friday's other semi-final will pitch world number one Murray, the runner-up to Djokovic in 2016, against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray made the semi-finals for the fifth time with a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1 win over Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori. Wawrinka became the oldest French Open semi-finalist in 32 years when he brushed aside Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. Djokovic, who had brought in Andre Agassi as coach in an effort to boost his flagging career, hinted he may step back from the sport to regroup even with Wimbledon fast approaching. "Trust me, I'm thinking about many things, especially in the last couple months," he said. "At the same time, I have responsibility to the game itself, towards others. We'll see. Obviously it's not an easy decision to make, but I will see how I feel after Roland Garros and then decide what to do next." Wednesday's defeat to Thiem was Djokovic's first straight-sets loss at a major in four years and comes just 12 months after he completed the career Grand Slam in Paris. Djokovic 'up for challenge' He then also held all four majors and became the first man to break the $100 million prize money barrier. Wednesday saw him suffer a first 6-0 'bagel' at a Slam since the 2005 US Open while the defeat will see him slip out of the world's top two for the first time in six years. "All the top players go through this. It's a big challenge but I am up for it," said Djokovic who was also runner-up in Paris in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Thiem had lost to the Serb in the semi-finals last year and took just one game in a straight-sets loss in Rome in May. His shock quarter-final victory was his first in six meetings with the 12-time major winner. Austrian sixth seed Thiem is the only man to beat Nadal on clay this year -- his Rome quarter-final success offsetting losses in the final in Barcelona and Madrid. "It's going to be the toughest match you can imagine," admitted the 23-year-old. Fourth seed Nadal recorded his 100th best-of-five-sets victory on clay -- from just 102 matches. He will be playing in his 10th semi-final in Paris and has made it having lost just 22 games through five matches. Bjorn Borg surrendered just 32 games on his way to the 1978 French Open, but Nadal insisted he has no interest in such records. "I don't know how many games I lost this year, but I really don't care about this. I only care that I am in the semi-finals," said Nadal. Murray advanced to his fourth straight semi-final in Paris, defeating Nishikori to avenge his loss to the Japanese star at the US Open last year. The Scot set up a semi-final rematch with third seed Wawrinka after beating the Swiss in four sets at the same stage a year ago. "He's played fantastic this tournament so far," Murray said of the 32-year-old, the oldest Roland Garros semi-finalist since Jimmy Connors in 1985. Like Nadal and Thiem, Wawrinka has not lost a set on his way to a third successive semi-final at Roland Garros. "It was perfect today, I'm very satisfied," said reigning US Open champion Wawrinka after a 12th win in 14 meetings with Cilic.
  17. Andy Murray racked up his 650th career win to reach the French Open quarter-finals Monday where he was joined by 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka. World number one Murray, the runner-up in Paris to Novak Djokovic in 2016, brushed aside Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. However, instead of discussing the match in the traditional on-court TV interview, Murray took the microphone to remember the 29 people who died in the recent outrages in London and Manchester. "Obviously there was terrible tragedy in London and Manchester. Paris has had its problems too in recent years," said Murray. "I am sure everyone will join me... we share our thoughts and prayers with everyone who has been affected. "I appreciate everyone still coming out to support the tennis. I am grateful that I can still perform in front of everyone." Murray broke the serve of the 21-year-old Russian, playing in a Slam fourth round for the first time, on five occasions. Before Monday, Khachanov had held serve for 48 successive service games. In his seventh Paris quarter-final, Murray will face Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori who defeated 33-year-old Fernando Verdasco of Spain 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0. Nishikori, a beaten quarter-finalist in Paris in 2015, has now made the last eight of a Slam for a seventh time, a record for a Japanese man. Nishikori stunned Murray in five sets at the US Open last year although he insisted he had little memory of it. Memory man "I don't even know if I win or lost. I won?" he asked reporters of a win which was just his second in 10 meetings with the Briton, Wawrinka, the third seed, booked a place in the quarter-finals for the fourth time with a comfortable 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 win over Gael Monfils, the last French player in the men's draw. Marin Cilic completed the quarter-final line-up when South Africa's Kevin Anderson retired with a thigh injury trailing 6-3, 3-0. He will take a 2-11 losing record against Wawrinka into his match with the Swiss star. It is Cilic's first Roland Garros last-eight spot while he is the first Croatian to get this far since Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic in 2006. Seven of the top seeds have made the quarter-finals with Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta playing the role of gate-crasher having knocked out fifth seed Milos Raonic on Sunday. Czech world number two Karolina Pliskova needed three sets to get past Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg. The world number 97 had only won one match at the majors before this year's Roland Garros but she was the better player in the first set with Pliskova hitting just four winners. But the second seed steadied the ship to go through 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Pliskova next faces 28th seed Caroline Garcia who won her all-French grudge match with Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-4. The two compatriots have been involved in a recent feud over the Fed Cup and are barely on speaking terms. However, they exchanged smiles and a warm embrace at the net at the end of the tie. Title favourite and 2014 runner-up Simona Halep trounced Spain's Carla Suarez-Navarro 6-1, 6-1 to make the last eight without dropping a set or breaking sweat. Third seed Halep, who like Pliskova can become the new world number one if she wins the title, claimed her first victory on clay in six attempts against the Spaniard. "I played my best match of the tournament. I served well and opened up the court," said Halep. The 25-year-old Halep will tackle Ukraine's fifth seed Elina Svitolina for a semi-final place. The two met in the Rome final on the eve of Roland Garros when Halep was beaten and suffered an ankle injury which threatened her appearance in Paris. Svitolina reached the quarter-finals for the second time, ending the dream run of world number 290 Petra Martic with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win. However, Martic, bidding to become only the 10th qualifier to make the last eight in Paris threw away a golden chance for victory. The 26-year-old led 5-2 in the final set before Svitolina rallied to race away with the last five games.
  18. Andy Murray downed longtime rival Juan Martin del Potro to reach the Roland Garros last 16 Saturday while French hopes were overshadowed by a bitter feud between two of their top stars. World number one Murray triumphed 7-6 (10/8), 7-5, 6-0 for his seventh win in 10 meetings with Del Potro whose challenge fizzled out after squandering four set points in the 87-minute opener. Murray, the runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2016, will next face either John Isner of the United States or Russia's Karen Khachanov. That match was one of six third round ties to be completed on Sunday after rain caused an early cancellation. "Whoever won that first set would have the momentum as it would have been very difficult to come back in these heavy, slow conditions," said Murray. "He was playing much better than me in the first set. He had chances in the first set, he double faulted on set point." In a titanic first set, Del Potro wasted four set points then saved two before Murray pounced when the Argentine star narrowly miscued. The 28-year-old slumped over the net and stayed that way during most of the changeover to catch his breath. Del Potro, playing in Paris for the first time in five years after a series of wrist injuries, was quickly a break down in the second set. He retrieved it when Murray served for the set in the 10th game before handing the advantage straight back. Murray seized his lifeline, a fourth ace giving him a two-set lead. Weary Del Potro Weary Del Potro, who beat Murray in the Davis Cup semi-finals last year to avenge his defeat in the Olympics final, managed just 11 points in the third set. "Andy proved he is a real No. 1," said Del Potro. "He is one of the smartest guys on the circuit." Third seed Stan Wawrinka saved four set points in the opener before running away with 16 of the last 19 games to beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7/2), 6-0, 6-2. Former US Open champion Marin Cilic continued his smooth progress seeing off Feliciano Lopez, who was limited by a neck injury, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. Croatian seventh seed Cilic will next meet South Africa's Kevin Anderson who matched his best run with a five-set win over Britain's Kyle Edmund. Anderson twice recovered from a set down to advance 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in just under four hours in a duel between two players born in Johannesburg. The rain suspension was good news for Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori who was two sets to one up on South Korea's Hyeon Chung but a double break down in the fourth set at 0-3. In the women's event, France have three women in the last 16 for the first time in 23 years. However, that success is overshadowed by a bitter feud between compatriots Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia who will clash for a place in the quarter-finals. Cornet reached the last 16 for just the second time with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Polish ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska who lost all her seven service games. Garcia, seeded 28, made the fourth round of a Slam for the first time with a 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 win over Taiwan's world number 109 Hsieh Su-Wei. Those wins guaranteed the home nation will have at least one quarter-finalist in Paris for the first time since Marion Bartoli in 2011. However, Cornet admitted that her relationship with Garcia has virtually broken down. "I think that the relationship is not very good," said 27-year-old Cornet. "I think she may have a grudge against us." Garcia fell out with her teammates earlier this year after she pulled out of a Fed Cup tie. Romanian third seed and 2014 runner-up Simona Halep sealed her place in the fourth round with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Russia's Daria Kasatkina. Halep, 25, will face Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals. Suarez Navarro, the 21st seed and a two-time quarter-finalist, made the fourth round for the fifth time. She eased past Russian 14th seed Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-4 in a match which featured a 17-minute service game, punctuated by 11 deuces, for the Russian in the second set.
  19. World number one Andy Murray set up a French Open blockbuster against Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday, the latest chapter in what has developed into an epic rivalry. Murray, the 2016 runner-up, reached the third round with a bruising 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) win over Martin Klizan of Slovakia. Del Potro, playing in Paris for the first time in five years, went through after Nicolas Almagro retired in tears with a knee injury. The giant Argentine was immediately hailed for his sportsmanship when he embraced and consoled the sobbing, stricken Spaniard courtside. Out on Suzanne Lenglen court, world number 50 Klizan smashed 57 winners but 67 unforced errors as his all-or-nothing game proved in vain against top seed Murray. "I expected a tough match. Martin goes for his shots, he can hit winners with that forehand from anywhere on the court," said Murray. The Scot beat Del Potro in a marathon Olympic final in 2016 before the Argentine, now 30 in the world, gained his revenge with a come-from-behind win in five sets in the Davis Cup semi-final. "It will be very tough. Juan Martin is playing a lot better than his ranking," said Murray as he looked ahead to Saturday's clash. Del Potro, no stranger to injury after a career-long battle with wrist problems, made the third round after Almagro quit in tears during the third set with a left knee injury. In a moving conclusion on Court Two, Del Potro sat next to a sobbing Almagro, offering him water while trying to to console the heartbroken 31-year-old. Del Potro had also gone to the Spaniard's aid when he had collapsed at the back of the court, weeping, just moments earlier. 'Heart first' "I tried to find good words for him at that moment. I say to him, try to be calm. Try to think about his family, his baby," said Del Potro. "Sometimes the heart is first more than the tennis match." Del Potro, 28, had taken the first set 6-3 before Almagro claimed the next by the same score. They were locked at 1-1 in the third when Almagro quit. Del Potro also suffered an injury scare himself when he pulled up, holding his left groin in the second set. Third seed Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, reached the last 32 for the 10th time with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine. Wawrinka will face Italy's Fabio Fognini for a place in the fourth round. Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori routed France's Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5) and set up a rare all-Asian clash with South Korean Hyeon Chung. Chung, the 21-year-old world number 67, followed up his first round win over US 27th seed Sam Querrey with a 6-1, 7-5, 6-1 victory against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. Nick Kyrgios's Australian Open ended in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 loss to big-serving Kevin Anderson of South Africa. Anderson, ranked at 56 in the world, made the most of the 18th-seeded Australian's 42 unforced errors to progress. Unseeded 21-year-old Karen Khachanov of Russia continued his impressive debut, beating Czech 13th seed Tomas Berdych, a semi-finalist seven years ago, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. In the women's event, Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova and third-seeded Simona Halep of Romania, both firm women's title favourites after the first round exit of world number one Angelique Kerber, went through. Pliskova, 25, reached the third round for the first time at the seventh attempt but had to fight to see off Russian world 86 Ekaterina Alexandrova, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Halep, the 2014 runner-up, cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 win over Germany's Tatjana Maria. However, crowd favourite Eugenie Bouchard's struggles continued with a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Latvian 17th seed Anastasija Sevastova. Fifth seed Elina Svitolina, a quarter-finalist in 2015 and recent Rome champion, fought back to beat Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova, a quarter-finalist last year, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded nine, saw off Belgian qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3.
  20. Maria Sharapova is still waiting to hear if she can play at the French Open later this month but men's world number one Andy Murray expects her to be at Wimbledon in July. Sharapova returned last month from a doping ban to reach the semi-finals at the Stuttgart Open, but did not earn enough points to qualify for Roland Garros and is reliant on a wildcard for the qualifying tournament. The French Tennis Federation will announce their decision on May 16. Murray, however, said he expected the five-times grand slam champion would be on the grasscourts of south-west London. "I think there's a good chance Wimbledon would give her one (a wild card) to get into qualifying," Murray told reporters at an event for June's Aegon Championships tournament at the Queen's Club in London. "I think we've got to wait and see what happens because there might not even be a decision to be made because she might be in the main draw after Madrid or Rome, so there's a good chance she can get in by right." The Russian can qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon by reaching the semi-final of either the Madrid or Rome tournaments. The rankings deadline for Wimbledon qualification is May 29. Murray, who sustained an injury in March, returned to action at the Barcelona Open last month and said he was feeling good as he looked ahead to Roland Garros. "I feel much better than I did three or four weeks ago," he added. "I feel like physically I am getting back to where I need to be and I feel like I am able to put in the work I need to, to be able to play my best tennis."
  21. Andy Murray gained revenge on Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas and nine-time champion Rafael Nadal cruised into the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open on Friday. Ramos-Vinolas beat the world number one on Murray's return from an elbow injury in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters last week. He threatened to repeat that upset when he served for the match in the third set, but Murray battled back to edge out the world number 19 by 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) after three hours on court. "It was obviously a very tough match," said Murray, who got his wish for match practice ahead of next month's French Open after taking a late wildcard to enter the draw in the Catalan capital. "It was kind of the opposite of the match we had last week where probably today he deserved to win. He created a lot more chances, he served for the match and couldn't quite get it. "Last week I had 4-0 (in the third set), I felt like I had all of the chances. Sometimes on clay matches happen this way, so very happy to get through because it was very tough." Ramos-Vinolas is in the form of his life having risen to a career-high ranking after reaching the final in Monte Carlo. He dominated the opening stages, taking five straight games after Murray started with a comfortable hold. Murray edged the second with the only break in the 10th game. Breaks were exchanged early in the decider, whilst Ramos-Vinolas also had to take an injury timeout after twisting his ankle. Ramos-Vinolas had the chance to serve it out when he broke again for 5-4, but nerves seemed to get the better of him as three errors handed Murray the break back. Murray raced out to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreak and saw it out as Ramos-Vinolas's efforts over the past two weeks finally began to take their toll. The Wimbledon champion faces Dominic Thiem in Saturday's semis after the Austrian ended Japanese lucky loser Yuichi Sugita's unlikely run to the quarters 6-1, 6-2. Nadal also enjoyed a comfortable afternoon as his quest for a 10th Barcelona title continued unhindered with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 win over Korean qualifier Hyeon Chung. The 14-time Grand Slam champion had to battle back from a break down in the first set to take it on a tiebreak before romping through the second. "I gave him a bit too much respect," said Nadal. "At the start he was dominating, but I think once I broke back to 3-3 the match was more in my hands." Nadal will be a strong favourite to reach the final when he takes on Horacio Zeballos in the last four after the Argentine beat Russia's Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1.
  22. MONTE CARLO: Andy Murray returned from over a month out with an elbow injury to launch his clay-court season with a gruelling 7-5, 7-5 defeat of Gilles Muller at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday. The world number one and top seed waited until late in both sets to make his move, finally putting Muller away in just under two hours to reach the third round. But the 29-year-old Scot was poor on his serve with eight double faults while breaking Luxembourg´s Muller four times. And Murray was on the back foot in the opening set as he lost the first game and only caught up late. In the second he was also far from his fluent best, before grinding out victory. It was the first time back on the ATP since an elbow injury -- his last match was a second-round loss to Vasek Pospisil at Indian Wells on March 12. The three-time Monte Carlo semi-finalist, who has had a sticky start to 2017 with form and injury, now stands 13-3 on the season and has one title from Dubai in his pocket. Murray was joined in round three by Swiss third seed Stan Wawrinka, who saw off Czech Jiri Vesely 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Three-time Grand Slam winner Wawrinka won Monte Carlo three years ago over compatriot and friend Roger Federer. Austrian Dominic Thiem, seeded sixth, advanced over Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3, 6-2 while Czech ninth seed Tomas Berdych put an end to the run of 39-year-old Tommy Haas 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Pablo Carreno Busta, Alexander Zverev and Albert Ramos-Vinolas all advanced.
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