Posted in BHAFC

BHAFC: What will new signing Izzy Brown bring to Brighton’s attacking threat?

The 20-year old joins on a season-long loan from Chelsea. 

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Izzy Brown pictured with an Albion shirt. (Image Credit: brightonandhovealbion.com)

Brighton and Hove Albion completed the signing of young Chelsea forward Izzy Brown on a season-long loan this afternoon.

The 20-year old impressed whilst on loan at both Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town last season.

Brown has no doubt proved his worth in the Championship, and now has the chance to shine in the Premier League with the Seagulls.

But what exactly does the youngster bring to Chris Hughton’s team?

Technically, Brown is very good with the ball at his feet. He enjoys to dribble past players and can be very difficult to stop once he is in full flow.

He’s the dynamic player some Brighton fans have been crying out for. He always wants to go forward with the ball- similarly to Anthony Knockaert.

The two of them could form a formidable partnership once the Frenchman recovers from the ankle injury he sustained in the win over Fortuna Düsseldorf earlier this month.

As well as his dribbling ability, Brown also has a habit of scoring big goals. His five for Huddersfield last season proved crucial as they won promotion to the top flight. Hopefully he will get a few more this campaign, as Brighton look to avoid relegation in their first season back in England’s top division since 1983.

With an ever-ageing squad, Brown brings some young, youthful energy which the front line so desperately needs.

With Sam Baldock out injured, Tomer Hemed (30) and Glenn Murray (33) are the only fit out-and-out strikers currently at the Amex. Both are quite similar players- they are physical and very good in the air.

Brown will bring some much needed pace and technical ability that will bring a different attacking threat. Defenders will not have such an easy time with the England Under-21 international on the pitch.

The 20-year old is set to feature in the Seagulls’ third pre-season match of the summer against Southend United tonight.

Brown joins Pascal groß, Mat Ryan and Markus Suttner through the Amex doors this summer, but there could still be more business to be done before the window slams shut.

 

Posted in Film

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) Review.

The third entry in the rebooted Apes series is a phenomenal showcase of CGI and dark story-telling.  

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Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar. (Image Credit: IMDB via. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3450958/mediaviewer/rm3971885568)

*****

The rebooted Apes prequel series has been without doubt one of the most surprising successes of modern cinema.

2011’s Rise of and 2014’s Dawn of  were both met with critical acclaim, as both films raked in over £1 billion at the box office.

Now we have War for the Planet of the Apes, the darkest and bleakest of the three movies, but arguably the best.

The film picks up where the last ends. The army that was said to be coming at the end of Dawn is now here, and the opening scene is all-out warfare between the humans and the apes.

Caesar (another champion performance from Andy Serkis) is once again the ape at the helm of the colony, but when he suffers a horrendous loss at the hands of the Colonel (an excellent Woody Harrelson), he sets off on a revenge path with a thirst for blood.

This movie, directed once again by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), is a fantastic blend of western and Vietnamese war-epic. But unlike the title may suggest, this isn’t just an action movie.

Many themes are thrown into the mix. Morality and slavery are two of the biggest factors that are examined in great depth. Michael Giacchino’s score perfectly builds the tension levels during the action scenes, but also makes the mood delightful sombre in heart-warming ones.

Once again, the CGI is mesmerising, but beautifully you forget to notice it after the opening 15 minutes. Serkis – the king of motion capture – stands out for his performance as the notorious leader of the apes.

15 years on from his debut as Gollum in Lord of the Rings, the 53-year old has become a legend of this breath-taking method of film-making. The emotion he captures and portrays is exhilarating, and this is a major reason in why audiences have grown a bond with Caesar throughout these movies.

Some characters return such as Maurice the orangutan, but we are also introduced to new apes, including Bad Ape. Together they go on a journey that tests every emotion they have, and it is scintillating stuff.

The biggest reason for the success of these movies is the decision to make them ape-centric. The original Planet of the Apes (1968) was looked at from a human perspective, whereas this trilogy casts the humans as the enemies. It’s clever, as it makes you wonder whether anyone is exactly in the wrong when you consider what it is both sides are fighting for.

A masterpiece.

12A, 140 mins 

 

 

 

Posted in Golf

Open champion Jordan Spieth’s mental strength is the most powerful weapon in his arsenal.

The 146th Open was one that saw records tumble left, right and centre. 

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Jordan Spieth has won his third Major at just 23 years of age. (Image Credit: ANDY BUCHANAN/ GOLFWORLD via. http://www.golfdigest.com/story/british-open-2017-is-jordan-spieth-a-lock-to-win-not-so-fast-say-computers).

Great sporting champions have many traits.

They have the raw skill and talent but also that burning desire to win. They are resilient and never give up, even if they are staring defeat in the face.

Jordan Spieth is no different.

The 23-year old from Texas won The Open on Sunday after beating Matt Kuchar by three shots in an enthralling final day at Royal Birkdale.

Spieth has shown throughout the week the many different weapons he possesses in his arsenal, but none are more powerful than his mental strength.

There is no doubt that the collapse he suffered at the 2016 Masters would have played on his mind ahead of his final round and one would have hoped that those wounds would not reopen this time around.

Unfortunately, the American could not have made a more nervous start. Three bogeys inside his first four holes set in motion the straight shootout for the Claret Jug between himself and Kuchar.

Spieth did ride out his luck at times on the front nine. On numerous occasions, Kuchar had the opportunity to capatalise on Spieth’s wayward drive shots, but missed crucial putts.

However by the halfway point of the round, Spieth had lost his three shot lead and both players were level on scores.

Then came the 13th hole and something we will never likely see again in a professional tournament.

Spieth’s tee shot went 120 yards wide of the fairway, and after consulting the match officials for no less than 20 minutes, the Texan took a penalty drop and hit a three iron just short of the green.

To the amazement of the Merseyside crowd, commentators, pundits and viewers watching from around the world, the American went on to only score a bogey on a hole that looked to be championship-ending.

He did however surrender the lead to Kuchar, who parred the hole.

Where many would capitulate mentally, Spieth seemed to gain confidence.

The 23-year old went on a mesmerising run, which saw him birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie holes 14-17. The scars from the 2016 Masters were fully healed.

Kuchar tried his best to keep up, but he couldn’t match the skill Spieth was oozing out of his body.

As he made the famous walk up the 18th green, the crowd applauded one of the greatest players in the sport today.

Spieth becomes the second player behind the legendary Jack Nicklaus to win three majors before the age of 24. He is also the youngest Open winner since 22-year-old Seve Ballesteros won the first of his three titles in 1979.

Only the PGA Championship is missing from the Texan’s trophy cabinet, and should he win that in three weeks time, he would complete the grand slam.

The 146th Open saw records tumble, with South African Branden Grace shot an eight-under-par 62 on day three- a major record for the lowest round score ever recorded.

It was also a historic tournament for Chinese golfer Li Haotong. His 63 was a final day highlight, and helped the 21-year old finish third overall. He is without doubt a name for the future.

But the spotlight rightly deserves to shine on Jordan Spieth. He has been the best player over the last four days and is a worthy Open Champion.

But he isn’t just a champion. He is a great one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Film

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Review.

Even Tom Holland and Michael Keaton can’t save this from being the weakest Marvel movie since Thor: The Dark World. 

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Tom Holland stars at Peter Parker/Spider-Man. (Image Credit: CHUCK ZLOTNICK/IMDB via. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2250912/mediaviewer/rm1521101312

**

Spider-Man was a favourite of mine growing up. Everyone I knew wanted to be the famous web-slinger and have the ability to climb walls and shoot webbing out their wrists. Sometimes I think studios realise just how big a hero Spider-Man is to the world.

There is more pressure on making a Spidey film than say an Iron Man or X-Men film. Stan Lee’s teenage hero is the most relatable to many, which is one of the major reasons he is so adored. His alter-ego – Peter Parker – is a kid in high school, showing that you don’t have to be rich, or scientifically tested, or a god from another world in order to be a hero.

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ (2002) and ‘Spider-Man 2′ (2004), which starred Tobey Maguire as our hero, are without doubt the best superhero movies of their time- before the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with Iron Man.

Since then though, no has managed to capture what made the teenage hero so great in the comics on the big screen. Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 was a disaster. Then came ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2011) and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ (2014), which starred Andrew Garfield in the title role. These films were full of action, but they failed to really capture Peter Parker.

Marvel managed to strike a deal with Sony to bring Spidey to the MCU; much to the delight of fans. Tom Holland (In the Heart of the Sea) was cast in the role and made his debut appearance in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, which was met with applause and cheers.

Now we have ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming‘, the first of a planned trilogy starring Holland.

The concept of this movie is to see Peter Parker struggle at balancing his heroic antics with everyday school-life. Unfortunately, the heroic action doesn’t look authentic and the school-life scenes are like watching paint dry.

Holland puts in an accomplished performance, as does Micheal Keaton (Birdman) as Adrian Toomes aka. The Vulture. But they can’t save this film on their own, and are let down by the supporting cast.

Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and Michelle (former Disney star Zendaya) are hardly used, whilst Ned (Jacob Batalon) becomes increasingly like the friend that follows you around and never leaves you alone. The relationship between Holland and Batalon again seems staged and just wants to be more than it should be. The humour between the two failed to spark any kind of laughs.

On the bright side, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark was used sparingly throughout the film, which worked well. We have had so many collaborative movies recently in the Marvel Universe it’s seemed a lifetime ago since we had a standalone caper.

But there is one big issue that can’t be ignored. Director Jon Watts (Cop Car) has decided to take the movie and aim it at teenagers. It is a high-school movie and unless you are a die-hard Spider-Man fan, there is nothing to appeal to anyone over 25 years of age.

This adaptation is the best for 13 years since Raimi’s delicious sequel, but on the Marvel chain it slides down even below ‘Thor: The Dark World’.

 

Posted in Cricket

England v South Africa: Joe Root will never have an easier Test match as England captain.

England convincingly beat the Proteas by 211 runs thanks largely to the new skipper and Moeen Ali. 

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Joe Root is England’s 80th Test Captain. (Image Credit: AP/FIRST POST via. http://www.firstpost.com/sports/england-vs-south-africa-joe-root-stars-on-opening-day-with-an-unbeaten-184-3786397.html)

Ahead of the 2017 Test series against South Africa, the spotlight was firmly on new England captain Joe Root.

Five months since he was announced as Alastair Cook’s successor, the 26-year old has had plenty of time to prepare for the role and the challenges that come with it. His first opponents South Africa may not be the force they were a few years ago, but their record on these shores speaks volumes.

The Proteas’ last defeat at the ‘Home of Cricket’ came in 1960, and they haven’t lost a Test series in England since 1998.

So when England recorded an comprehensive 211-run victory with a day to spare on Sunday, it looked as if Root had got all of his decisions correct.

But one could easily forget how South Africa helped the new captain find his feet with some clumsy fielding and lacklustre batting.

Dropped catches, lazy bowling and wasteful with the bat, South Africa’s downfall was a painful message to Du Plessis to rescue them. Their second innings total of 119-all out was a sorrow viewing in particular.

But this Test could have gone a lot differently had it not been for Root himself. Had the England captain not taken England’s first innings by the scruff of the neck with that all-important 190, then the hosts may well have ended 100-runs short of a respectable score.

Once he was out on the crease, he was able to relax and play his game. Unlike Alastair Cook during the back-end of his captaincy, Root’s batting didn’t seem to have been affected by the added pressure of leading the team.

However, he had plenty more to think about during his second innings. Declarations and which bowling attack to use when South Africa chase would have been firmly on his mind as he stepped out of the pavilion to bat. He only scored five runs before being bowled by Keshav Maharaj but again as he grows into his new role, he will find it easier to not think too hard about those decisions and focus solely on scoring crucial runs for his country.

On a whole, it was a straightforward introduction to the captaincy for Joe Root, but I doubt he will ever get an easier Test match as England skipper. The conditions didn’t change all week, he never had a major partnership he desperately needed to break up, and all his players contributed either with the bat, the ball or in the field. A Captain’s dream.

South Africa will (hopefully) not be as poor in the field  or with the bat as the series heads to Trent Bridge. Du Plessis returns to the side, and brings with him his experience and leadership that the South Africans missed at Lord’s. He will no doubt come in and fire the tourists up for the second match, and Root should be prepared for a response from the Proteas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Film

Split (2017) Review.

M. Night Shyamalan may have gone back to basics with this psychological horror-thriller, but he is back to his best as a result. 

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James McAvoy in Split. (Image Credit: UNIVERSAL PICTURES/IMDB via. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4972582/mediaviewer/rm2471049728)

****

Sometimes people wish they could be somebody different: a scientist, a doctor, a sportsman, a gardener or a plumber.

But what if all of those people are you stuck in one body?

Dissociative identity disorder (DID), is a mental health condition which affects people with multiple personalities.

With it’s complexity, DID comes with a number of legal issues. Court cases have become far more complicated because of it. Can you convict someone of a crime who claims it was someone else?

Whilst it is still a relatively rare disease, it has been portrayed in books, television programmes and movies with a remarkable frequency- M. Night Shyamalan (Signs) examines it in fine detail in Split; which is written, produced and directed by the 46-year-old.

James McAvoy (Filth) produces one of his most stellar performances as Kevin, who has 23 different personalities within his mind, and a 24th beginning to emerge.

The 38-year-old portrays each personality very distinctly. Just through his facial mannerisms and body language you can clearly distinguish each one- a skill most actors find incredibly difficult.

From the artistic Barry, to the gentle-speaking Miss Patricia, to the creepy Dennis, and then nine-year old Hedwig, McAvoy is frighteningly good at shifting in and out of personalities throughout the first two acts.

After kidnapping three teenage girls and keeping them in his underground hideout, Dennis warns them that identity 24 aka “The Beast” is coming.

As the girls try to find a way to escape, Barry goes to see Dr. Karen Fletcher, a psychologist who is helping Kevin through his DID. It’s evident that each personality is struggling to cope with something, but as we see this one man begin to lose control, we begin to realise the bigger picture. It’s clever storytelling from Shyamalan.

There are terrific performances in this movie besides McAvoy. Following her fantastic outing in The Witch, Anya Taylor-Joy once again puts in a strong display as Casey Cooke (one of the three teenagers kidnapped) whose suffered a traumatic past. Betty Buckley (The Happening) also deserves praise as Dr. Fletcher.

However the film does have it’s flaws. This movie is driven by McAvoy. When he isn’t on-screen, the scenes begin to slow down to walking pace. The use of flashbacks also seem to have an uncertain feel about them. It’s like editor Luke Franco Ciarrocchi has just thrown in at different points of the film for the sake of it.

But they are only small issues in what is overall a very good movie. This does feel like a return to Shyamalan’s old ways of filmmaking. The tense score (by West Dylan Thordson) that plays so very subtly in the background, the lighting of all the shots (cinematography by Mike Gioulakis), the way the film starts as a slow burner but increases the intensity as it progresses towards it’s final act. It is edge-of-your-seat stuff!

Then there is, like in most early Shyamalan films, a twist that comes out of nowhere which is particularly pleasing. What works about this movie is that the director has gone back to basics and is doing what he does best. It’s up there with his best work: Unbreakable, Signs and The Village. It’s been a decade of chomping and changing his technique, which came with little success. But without doubt, Shyamalan is most definitely back to his best.

15, 117 mins

Posted in BHAFC

Brighton and Hove Albion linked with left-backs from Liverpool, Schalke and Ingolstadt.

The Seagulls need to fill the position following Sebastian Pocognoli’s decision to return to Standard Liege. 

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Joe Gomez in action for Liverpool. (Image Credit: COLIN LANE/IRISH MIRROR via. http://www.irishmirror.ie/sport/soccer/soccer-news/joe-gomez-unfazed-prospect-making-6190341

Brighton and Hove Albion are looking to further strengthen their squad ahead of the new Premier League season, which begins in just 45 days.

Following the arrivals of midfielder Pascal Groß and goalkeeper Mat Ryan, the focus now switches to securing a left-back that’ll bolster Chris Hughton’s defence.

Gaëtan Bong is the only natural left-back currently in the squad. The Cameroonian has played well during his time on the south coast, but it’s unlikely he can play all 38 Premier League games and subsequent cup matches. It will be a gruelling campaign, and a backup is most definitely needed.

Liam Rosenior has played at left-back previously during his time at the Albion, but he is more likely to cover club captain Bruno at right-back this year. With Chris Hughton only allowed to register 25 players for the upcoming season, one would expect him to select four distinguished full-backs.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only Brighton fan who wanted Sebastian Pocognoli to stay after his loan spell last season. The Belgian brought a sense of calm and composure to the defence and will remembered for scoring a wonderful free-kick at Loftus Road against Queens Park Rangers- a goal that secured a vital three points in the Seagull’s promotion push.

Pocognoli insists Albion hadn’t offered any contract to him, and that he felt he couldn’t wait any longer for a deal to be put on the table. I therefore wish Poco all the best with Standard Liege.

Speculation has been floating around the media, with three defenders possibly being targeted by the Albion. But will they bring with them the quality that is needed to stay in the Premier League?

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez has been a name that has been whispered around since the start of the summer, with the 20-year-old looking to restart his career following a cruciate injury.

The youngster is good with both feet, and will push forward when his team are on the attack.

Gomez made just three appearances in the FA Cup last season following his long lay-off with injury, but did show early potential when he first broke into the Liverpool side two years ago.

Celtic have also been interested in acquiring his services, but according to The Mirror, the Seagulls have beaten them to his signature.  

There has been a lot more activity over in Germany, with Austrian international Markus Suttner unhappy that Ingolstadt won’t allow him to leave the club.

Brighton made an offer of around £2m for the defender which was rejected, and according to the player’s agent, the 30-year-old wants his ‘dream move to the Premier League’.

Suttner made 38 appearances for Ingolstadt last season, and made an average of three interceptions per match. His key strengths are his passing and ability to run up and down the left channel. He has also represented Austria 18 times.

The final player who hasn’t had as much attention is Schalke’s Dennis Aogo.

The German can play left back and defensive midfield, and is also out of contract at the end of the month.

Aogo is renowned in Germany for his passing ability, but his defending has raised eyebrows. The 30-year old featured predominantly for Schalke in the Europa League last season, and struggled to break into the side for their league matches.

Of the three, I think Joe Gomez would be the pick of the bunch. The Liverpool youngster has some Premier League experience and will provide the defence with the necessary pace needed to keep up with some of the quickest and trickiest wingers in the world.

Whoever comes in needs to be on it from the first minute on opening weekend, when Manchester City come to town.

 

 

 

Posted in Tennis

Queen’s 2017: Day Three

The second round begins, with Gregor Dimitrov and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga featuring once again.

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Dimitrov was excellent on Monday against Ryan Harrison. (Image Credit: STEVEN PASTON/PA via. http://www.concordmonitor.com/Kyrgios-injured-at-Queens-but-fit-for-Wimbledon-10814601

With Andy Murray out, Queen’s will have a new champion in 2017.  Here are the reports from today’s action on centre court.

Donald Young bt. Viktor Troicki (6-3, 6-4)

Donald Young beat Serbian Viktor Troicki in straight sets as he made through to the quarter-finals of an ATP Tour event for just the third time this year.

Troicki didn’t have long to recover from his mammoth match with fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic yesterday, and that showed against a much fresher Young.

The world number 55 was a set up against Nick Kyrgios in the first round before the Australian retired with injury.

Young broke early, and raced to a 6-3 first set win in just under 30 minutes.

The 27-year old then broke Troicki again in the second set with a cross-court forehand, in what was a comfortable victory for the American.

Gilles Muller bt. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6-4, 6-4)

Gilles Muller’s impressive 2017 continued after he beat world number 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.

The Frenchman’s elimination means only Marin Cilic is the only one of the top five-seeded players remaining in the tournament.

Muller, who is ranked 26th in the world, has already won two ATP Tour events this year. The 34-year old made a fantastic start to the grass-court season by winning last week’s Ricoh Open in the Netherlands.

Tsonga – who made the final of Queen’s back in 2011 – struggled against the Luxembourger’s movement around the court, as he became the latest victim of what has been a extraordinary tournament in London.

Muller came up with the only break of the first set, which he then won 6-4.

The 34-year old then broke Tsonga again as he raced to a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Fifth-seeded Tsonga dropped two break points himself during the second set, and the Luxembourger took full advantage by winning it 6-4.

Grigor Dimitrov bt. Julien Benneteau (4-6, 6-3, 6-4)

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov came from a set down to beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau and keep his Queen’s title hopes alive.

The world number 12 made a slow start as temperatures reached 40 degrees on court. He lost his first service game to Benneteau, which ultimately cost him the set.

However, the Bulgarian seemed to grow into the game, and won the match in just under two hours with three consecutive aces in the final game.

World number 87 Benneteau produced a fine display despite ultimately coming up short against the sixth-seeded Dimitrov.

Tomas Berdych bt. Denis Shapovalov (7-6, 6-7, 7-5)

Tomas Berdych saw off the brave 18-year old Denis Shapovalov after a gruelling match to close proceedings on day three at Queen’s.

The match was closely fought throughout it’s two-hour duration, but the experience of seventh-seed Berdych helped him close it out with the first break of the contest in the final game.

But the performance of young Canadian Shapovalov will stand out, and he will be a name to watch out for in the years ahead.

The first two sets went to tie-breaks, with both men finding it difficult to return each other’s serve .

Berdych – a former Wimbledon finalist – remains on course to face Gregor Dimitrov in the semi-finals. Both will now have an eye on the title following the shock results of the past couple of days.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Tennis

Queen’s 2017: Day Two

Andy Murray’s quest for a sixth Queen’s title is over after shock defeat. 

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Andy Murray has won Queen’s five times in his career. (Image Credit: GETTY/METRO via. http://metro.co.uk/2017/06/17/queens-club-championships-draw-andy-murray-to-play-aljaz-bedene-6715468/

It’s been an extraordinary day at Queen’s Club.  Here’s a round up of all the matches that took place on Centre Court:

Thanasi Kokkinakis bt. Milos Raonic (7-6, 7-6)

Last year’s runner-up at both Queen’s and Wimbledon Milos Raonic was beaten in straight sets by wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis.

The number three seed struggled to take control of the game, and failed to claim a single break against the Australian.

Kokkinakis, who is ranked 698th in the world, took the first set after winning the tie-break 7-5.

The second set was just as gruelling, with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees on court.

Raonic dropped three set points to rub salt into the wound, with Kokkinakis winning the second set tie-break 10-8.

This defeat will be difficult for the world number six to shrug off ahead of Wimbledon, but for the 21-year old Aussie, this was a massive win after 18 weeks out through injury.

Feliciano Lopez bt. Stan Wawrinka (7-6, 7-5)

Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka suffered a shock straight sets defeat at the hands of tour veteran Feliciano Lopez.

Once again, it proved difficult for the player returning the serve, with no breaks in the opening set.

Lopez, who came out on top 7-4 in the tiebreak, won the first set with a superb forehand across court that caught second seed Wawrinka.

The first break of the day came in the final game of the second set, with the Spaniard winning 7-5.

Wawrinka, who lost the French Open final against Rafael Nadal less than 2 weeks ago, has now lost in the first round at Queen’s for the second year running.

Jordan Thompson bt. Andy Murray (7-6, 6-2)

The biggest shock of the day saw defending champion Andy Murray crash out to Australian Jordan Thompson in straight sets.

The world number one became the latest top seed to struggle returning the serve, but seemed to have an off-day in all departments. His serve wasn’t as quick as it has been and his forehand let him down on numerous occasions.

Thompson, who replaced the injured Aljaz Bedene, won the first set by winning the tie-break 7-4.

The world number 90 then double-broke the five-time Queen’s champion, and won the second set 6-2.

Murray’s preparation ahead of his Wimbledon defence has taken a major setback with his early exit, but for Thompson it was the biggest win of his career.

Marin Cilic bt. John Isner (7-5, 6-3)

Number four seed Marin Cilic is now the favourite for the Queen’s title after he beat John Isner in straight sets.

The Croatian won this tournament back in 2012, and was very sharp on the court. He crucially broke Isner in the opening set and win it 7-5.

Cilic, who is currently ranking in at world number 7 ahead of Wimbledon, then made light work of the second set, winning it 6-3.

 

Posted in Tennis

Queen’s 2017: Day One

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gregor Dimitrov and Kyle Edmund all starred on opening day. 

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Tsonga won in straight sets against Adrian Mannarino. (IMAGE CREDIT: EUROSPORT Via. http://www.eurosport.co.uk/tennis/atp-queen-s/2017/aegon-championships-2017-tsonga-overcomes-mannarino_sto6223594/story.shtml

The grass court season is finally upon us, meaning the return of Queen’s– one of the most prestigious tour events which also serves as perfect preparation for Wimbledon. It’s been a tough day for all the players, with such blistering hot temperatures in West London. Here is how each match on Centre Court unfolded on the opening day.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt. Adrian Mannarino (6-2, 6-2)

Fifth seed and world number 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga opened proceedings with a straight sets win over fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

The crucial game of the match came during the opening set, when a 12-minute grudge match finally ended with Tsonga claiming an all-important break to go 4-2 up.

Mannarino struggled after that, and needed a medical time-out at one point after feeling a pain in his back.

Tsonga stepped up a gear to make easy work of the second set. The 2008 Australian Open finalist served well, and used his ferocious forehand to his advantage as he aims to make it to a first Queen’s final since 2011.

Gregor Dimitrov bt. Ryan Harrison (6-3, 6-1)

Bulgarian Gregor Dimitrov was comfortable from start to end as he beat American Ryan Harrison in straight sets.

The world number 11 took just 54 minutes to win the match, and dropped just four games along the way.

Harrison was hampered by too many unforced errors, which lead to him throwing balls into the crowd and slamming his racket in frustration. He was ultimately cautioned by the match umpire.

Dimitrov was different class however. The number six seed held his serve well, and played some magnificent shots from the baseline. The 2014 Queen’s champion showed flashes of just what he can do on a grass court and will go into the second round full of confidence.

Donald Young bt. Nick Kyrgios (7-6, Ret)

Nick Kyrgios’ retired from his first round match with American Donald Young with injury.

The Australian and number nine seed had yet to win a match at Queen’s prior to the tournament, and had his right leg heavily strapped up at the beginning of the match.

With the match closely fought, a slip during the ninth game of the first set ultimately cost Kyrgios, as he seemed to pull his left groin after his awkward tumble.

The world number 20 was sluggish around the court following the slip due to the injury he suffered, and struggled to compete in the tiebreak, which Young won 7-3.

The American used his powerful forehand to push Kyrgios around the court, and could be one to watch in this tournament. He very much held his own against the ninth seed, but the question following this match will be whether the Australian will return in time for Wimbledon, which starts in just two weeks time.

Denis Shapovalov bt. Kyle Edmund (7-6, 4-6, 6-4)

Two of tennis’ promising prodigies came face to face in the final match of the day, with 18-year old Denis Shapovalov shocking Queen’s by beating Britain’s Kyle Edmund.

Edmund, who has grown into a fine young player, was looking to make a mark on home soil. He made it through to the quarter-finals in this tournament last year, and wanted to try and at least make it to the same stage this time around.

However, the world number 44 struggled against the impressive Shapovalov. The Canadian, who won the junior Wimbledon last year, served well and played aggressively. He was rewarded with a first set win, beating Edmund 7-4 in the tiebreak.

Edmund recovered well, and got that all important break early on before wrapping up the second set 6-4.

The final set had a similar tone to the first, with both players struggling to break away from their opponent. The Canadian eventually found that elusive break in the final game, and will celebrate the biggest win of his very short career to date.

Shapovalov for certain has a bright future ahead of him, and will be a name to watch out for in the coming years. For Edmund, it’s about regrouping and rebuilding ahead of Wimbledon.