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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Tennis

Hungarian born, Australian bred, Britain’s sweetheart. 2017 could be Johanna Konta’s year.

After an unbelievable surge up the WTA Rankings, the British number one will hope to continue her rise towards the top of women’s tennis and possibly compete in this year’s majors, as the new tennis season gets underway.

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Konta following her quarter final win over Kristyna Pliskova in the 2017 Shenzhen Open. (Image credit: indiansportsnews.com)

Back in 1977, ABBA released their hit single ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’, which spent five weeks at number one, whilst George Lucas’s Star Wars opened in cinemas for the first time. On a more tragic note, ‘King of Rock and Roll’ Elvis Presley sadly passed away at his home in Graceland, Memphis aged just 42 in the same year.

But 1977 was also the last time a British woman made it to a Grand Slam single’s final.

Her name was Virginia Wade. Born in Bournemouth, she made it all the way to number two in the world during a successful playing career, which culminated in 55 singles titles.

Wade was also a brilliant doubles player- reaching world number one.

She won three Grand Slam singles championships and four Grand Slam doubles championships, making her the only British woman in history to have won titles at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

Some would’ve hoped that Wade was the first of many competitive and gifted female tennis stars from the UK. Instead, it’s been 50 years without a grand slam finalist.

Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Anne Keothavong have all been hit and miss, and although Andy Murray has won the US Open and Wimbledon twice in the last five years, we haven’t had too much to get excited about on the women’s side of the game.

But now we may have found someone who has the potential to finally follow in Wade’s footsteps.

Johanna Konta may be from Australia, and have Hungarian parents, but she has become a British sweetheart since gaining citizenship in 2012.

In doing so, she has created a sense of excitement in the country.

Her remarkable rise up the rankings in 2016 was a joy to behold for tennis and sports fans, but she has steadily improved her game over the last five years.

In 2012 she won her first ever Grand Slam match at the US Open- a straight sets victory over Timea Babos. She was only 21 at the time, and ranked 203 in the world.

2013 saw her move up in the rankings at a easy pace, and by 2014, she had broken into the top 100.

A drop in form saw her fall back to world no.150 in December 2014, with people beginning to label her as another false hope.

No one saw or even expected what was to come next in 2015.

Despite an opening round defeat to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon, Konta was able to experience Centre Court for the first time, and went into the US Open that year with subdued optimism.

At Flushing Meadows she went on a remarkable run, reaching the last 16 before being knocked out by Petra Kvitova. Bearing in mind she had only won just the single Grand Slam match prior to the tournament, her name began to once again be talked up by pundits and journalists.

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Konta and Kvitova consult one another following their US Open quarter-final match in 2015. (Image Credit: telegraph.co.uk)

Following on from her US Open displays, Konta performed heroically at the 2015 Wuhan Cup. She defeated former world number one Victoria Azarenka and world number two at the time Simona Halep before agonisingly losing out in the quarter-finals to Venus Williams.

Her runs in both the US Open and Wuhan Cup saw her climb into the top 50 for the first time in her career, and become British number one ahead of Watson.

At this point even the WTA were noticing Konta, which resulted in her becoming a finalist at the end of season awards ceremony for most improved player. She lost out to French Open semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky.

For the first time, Konta went into a season with expectation on her shoulders in 2016, and it looked like it was having an effect on her performances.

An opening round exit at the Shenzhen Open was followed by another early exit at Hobart.

However, at the Australian Open, Konta went on a run which saw her defeat Venus Williams, Zheng Saisai Denisa Allertová, Ekaterina Makarova, and qualifier Zhang Shuai. Her journey in Melbourne ultimately came to an end in the semifinals, where she lost to eventual champion Angelique Kerber in straight sets.

But for the first time in 32 years, a female tennis player from Britain had made it to the last four of a Grand Slam. She also became the first British female player to be seeded at Wimbledon for three decades last June.

To cap off her consistent year, Konta won her first WTA event, beating Venus Williams in the final of the Stanford Classic in California 7-5 5-7 6-2.

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Konta won her first WTA single’s event in July 2016. (Image Credit: skysports.com)

In December 2016 she broke into the top 10 in the world- becoming the first female Brit to achieve the feat since Jo Durie in 1984.

During the off-season, Konta  has changed her coach, with Esteban Carril and Jose-Manuel Garcia being replaced by Belgian Wim Fissette.

Some may have questioned her choice, but after their first pre-season together, the pair seem to have enhanced her game even more.

At the time of writing, She has made it to the semi-finals of the Shenzhen Open- her first event of 2017.

So what makes Konta such a difficult opponent? Why could she challenge for a Grand Slam title?

Her natural skill and athleticism..yes. But also her incredible mindset. She somehow manages to keeps herself grounded, and goes into every tournament one game at a time.

She doesn’t think about rankings or prize money. She never thinks two or three rounds down the line. She respects each opponent she faces and treats each match like a final.

From watching her on television, Konta seems a calm, cheerful and well tempered individual. It’s rare you’ll see her raise her voice or answer back. She seems comfortable and at ease with the media, and doesn’t let the luxuries of being one of the top 10 players in the world effect her lifestyle.

She has also never given up on her dreams.

Financially, working with Garcia and Carril was a straining business. It was a big gamble. But one that paid off evidently. She stuck by her coaches, and her coaches stuck by her. Despite her funding from the Lawn Tennis Association being slashed, she still managed to earn the money needed to take up necessary training camps in northern Spain.

If there are any young females wanting someone to emulate or grow up to be like, Johanna Konta is a perfect example. Work hard, don’t give up and always follow your dreams.

That is the Konta way.

Moving from another country to pursue in a career is always a challenge, but it’s one that has left a young tennis starlet – and a nation deprived of women’s champions for half a century – very much on the road to glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Tennis

French Open 2015 Draw: Clash of The Titans

Andy Murray has been drawn in the same half as ‘King of clay’ Rafael Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic in this year’s French Open.

Murray, seeded third for the tournament, faces some tricky looking ties but the draw could have been nastier for the Scot.

The real big talking point is the possibility of a mouth-watering heavyweight Quarter Final between Djokovic and Nadal.

There is a renewed optimism about how far Murray can go in this year’s French Open after what has been an impressive clay season for the 2013 Wimbledon winner. He has a record of ten wins and zero defeats on a surface that has been seen as his Achilles heel for much of his career.

He won his first title on clay in Munich at the start of the month before defeating Nadal in his native country of Spain to win the Madrid Masters just a week later.

“I’ve played well at Roland Garros in the past, but my game wasn’t ready to win there.” Said Murray, following his Madrid win last week.

“I’ve played Rafa a few times on clay, and this obviously gives me confidence. I don’t go in as one of the favourites, but if I play like this I’ll give myself an opportunity and that is all you can ask.”

The Scot will potentially have to get past the likes of the energetic Australian Nick Kyrgios, hard-hitting American John Isner, and the resilient Spaniard David Ferrer in order to make it to the Semi finals, where he will face the winner of that probable blockbuster between Nadal and Djokovic.

Nadal, who has won at Roland Garros an incredible nine times, has beaten Djokovic in two of the last three finals. However the Serb is on a current 22 match unbeaten run and looks set to add the only grand slam trophy missing from his illustrious trophy cabinet come June 7th.

It would be the first time in nine years that the pair would face off at the Quarter Final stage, ironically that match was also played in Paris.

“It’s strange because it hasn’t happened in a very long time.” Said Nadal following the draw.

“But at the end of the day, I have four matches before the quarter-finals and I need to be ready for that first round. I am ready to fight again and we will see.”

Nadal has struggled since his return to the court following a wrist injury he suffered last year. After that defeat to Murray in the Madrid Masters, the Spaniard lost to Stan Wawrinka in the Italian Open at the Quarter Final stage. His ranking has since dropped to seventh, meaning that this year is the first time he heads into Roland Garros since 2005 without being one of the top four seeds. But bare in mind 2005 was Nadal’s maiden French Open victory. The Spaniard has won the tournament five years on the trot so he can’t be underestimated.

Currently though, the momentum is certainly with Djokovic, which may well be enough to see him over the line. The world number one won his fourth Italian Open this year, beating veteran Roger Federer in the final. The 27 year old is arguably in the form of his life and it will take a huge effort to deny him that first Roland Garros title.

“I don’t know how it will go at Roland Garros, but I’m very confident,” said a very down to earth Djokovic, who knows that it won’t be plain sailing in order to win the tournament.

Federer will also have certain challenges to overcome if he is to win his first French Open title since 2009. The Swiss legend could come up against fellow countryman Wawrinka in the last eight should he make it that far. However, he will also have Ernests Gulbis, the man who knocked him out of the competition last year, in his section. Gulbis was the surprise package at Roland Garros last year as he made it through to the Semi Finals before being defeated by Djokovic.

Federer may also have to deal with both opponent and crowd, as French star Gael Monfils could be a potential fourth round opponent.

Federer though has been quick to say he thinks that his greatest foe will once again triumph in Paris.

“He’s (Nadal) still one of the fittest guys on tour, he’s won Roland Garros nine times and he definitely deserves to be one of the favourites,” he said.

“The guy’s only lost their once in 10 years!”

Posted in Tennis

Watch Out! New Swiss Prodigy About (Australian Open Review)

I may seem weird in saying this, but I think the best sporting events occur down under. Australia has hosted some world class sport for a good few years now. From the Australian GP in Formula One, to the Big Bash League in Cricket. But for the last couple of weeks the focus has been on the first Grand Slam of the tennis season, the Australian Open, and the quality as I mentioned before hasn’t hindered at all.

It’s tough to write about something I have only seen glimpses of. Due to the time difference between the UK and Australia- It has been challenging to see a lot of the tennis, with other things such as College and work also proving obstacles to observe and admire the spectacle. But here is what I have managed to pick out as some of my highlights of the tournament.

MELTING POINT: It truly is the summer season down under. The first week of the tournament saw temperatures reach a staggering 40 degrees, and it affected many of the players out on court. Officials deemed the first couple of days playable and players complained that the heat was just unbearable. Water bottles were even seen melting due to the intensity of the sun. Eventually the officials gave in, and the players were allowed breaks to cool down. I personally have neither seen anything quite like that and it made the tournament more exciting to watch.

EARLY EXITS:  Every Grand Slam sees a potential winner get knocked out early in the competition. This year was no exception. Women’s number one Serena Williams was knocked out in round four by Ana Ivanovic, a result which produced a huge shockwave in the women’s game, as Serena was seen as an unbeatable machine after a dominant 2013 campaign. Victoria Azarenka- two time champion of this tournament- was beaten in the quarter-finals by Agnieszka Radwanska. In the men’s draw, a tough half of the draw saw many of the top players face each other early. Jo-Wilfred Tsonga was knocked out in round four by Roger Federer. The biggest surprise from the men’s draw was defending champion Novak Djockovic being knocked out by Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals. The Serbian and world number two played out a gruelling match with the Swiss Wawrinka and it was the latter who took the spoils.

A RESURGENT FEDERER: We saw it with Andy Murray and Evan Lendl, and now we are seeing a similar effect with Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg. The legendary Swiss has been revitalised and is playing world class tennis just like the Federer of a few years ago. He has outplayed all his opponents so far, including Andy Murray in the quarter finals. It seems like the old Roger is back and this will bring back a certain nervousness and fear to any of his opponents.

GOOD TOURNAMENT FOR ANDY MURRAY: If you told me beforehand that Andy would make the last 8 of the Australian Open I would have laughed. This was a comeback tournament for the scot and reigning Wimbledon Champion. He has played rather well since returning from his back operation and I feared the third round match against Lopez would have been the one which he struggled in. Murray can build from this and fans can believe he will be in serious contention to win Wimbledon again this summer and hopefully good performances in the French and US Opens respectively.

A NEW CHAMPION: The sport has been dominated by the so called ‘big 4’ in Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray. Only Del Potro in 2008 managed to break into the field of Grand Slam winners when he won the US Open. But this year saw a new man lift a grand slam trophy as Stanislas Wawrinka came of age and became only the six player to win one of the four Tennis Majors since 2006.  On his way to glory he dispatched Novak Djokovic, the three-time and defending champion in the Quarter-Finals and then defeated Rafa Nadal in four sets in today’s final.

Australia has produced another blockbuster tournament and I can’t wait for the next big event in March, with the return of the Formula One in Melbourne. For you Tennis fans, it is a few months until the next Grand Slam in Paris, and hopefully it will live up to the hype of this one.

What was your favourite moment from this year’s Australian Open? Do you agree that Australia hosts the best sporting events? What do you make of Andy Murrays’ chances in the rest of this year’s Grand Slams?

HAVE YOUR SAY by commenting below, Tweeting me at @leeham1996 or Facebook at Liam ‘leeham’ Richner.

Posted in Tennis

Nadal Returns To Tennis Throne

Wimbledon 2012 provided one of the shocks of the tournaments history as Lukas Rosol; seeded 100 in the world at the time, defeated two times Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the second round.  The defeat marred the Spaniard’s career as he began a long spell on the side lines. The King of Clay spent most of the rest of 2012 rehabilitating for his comeback in 2013 and many doubted we would see him at his best ever again due to reoccurring Knee injuries.

But after victory over Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets in the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 in London, Nadal is guaranteed to end an astonishing year as number one in the world, a position he deserves after his heroics on the courts this year. Nadal has won 73 matches out of 79, a win percentage of 92.4%. He won both the French and US Open this term although he did lose in the opening round of Wimbledon this term to Belgian Steve Darcis.

Nadal is physically the strongest of the top players in the world of Tennis. He has an out of this world forehand shot which is both full of pace and precision, with many opponents struggling to cope with his physical dominance.

Nadal looks on course to win at the season ending tournament in London this week to cap of a remarkable year for the player who even I believed was going to full short of the greatness he has shown in previous years. It’s guaranteed Nadal will have to endure a shortened career because one day his fragile knees won’t be able to withstand much more, but I think we will still see the best of Rafa Nadal for a few more years to come…

Posted in Tennis, Uncategorized

Shocking Defeats… Terrible injuries…More chance for our Brits….only at Wimbledon…

British fans can be optimistic. Both Andy Murray and Laura Robson made it to the second week of Wimbledon, and their routes have been made easier this year due to the unbelievable tennis we have witnessed this past week.

In the Men’s singles, both Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal suffered shock defeats in the first and second rounds. Nadal lost in round one to an unseeded Belgian perhaps his knees were again refusing to collaborate with the Spaniards hard powerful way of play. Roger Federer, king of the court, fell to a player ranked 116 in the world in Round 2. This was a huger shock then Nadal because of how comfortable the Swiss has been on grass during his quite magical career. Tsonga, another of Murray’s possible opponents retired in round two. Therefore the Scot should make the final on Sunday where he may come against Novak Djokovic once again.  Murray beat the Serb in Flushing Meadows last autumn and there will no doubt be vengeance spreading through the world number ones’ veins.

Most if not all eyes however were upon Laura Robson, the 19 year old has broken into the top 20 in the women’s game and now aims for to make a career high at SW19. First up was the tenth seed Karlienko; a tough start for our Laura. But she came through and made it to round two where she played an unseeded woman off the park. The third round was a bit more of an uphill struggle however she came through after losing the first set and is still on the path to face the beast that is Serena Williams in the quarter finals of Wimbledon, a huge achievement for such a young, upcoming prospect.

So tennis fans, get out the strawberries and cream, this could be a good British summer after all…

Posted in Tennis

Postive responce from Tennis stars as Madrid Masters reverts to red courts

Andy Murray is preparing for the French Open by participating in the Madrid Masters. The organisers made a controversial decision by changing the court colours from red to blue and as a result; the organisers have decided to return to the iconic red courts. The surface was also deemed too slippery for the tennis player.

Murray, who incidentally missed last year’s tournament through injury, has been practising on the Madrid courts and is impressed by the playing surface. “The courts are fantastic. They’re excellent.”

Defending Madrid masters champion Roger Federer hopes to see better tennis this term compared to previous years. “i don’t know if it was due to the colour of the court, but this tournament has in the past, had issues with quality. From what I’m hearing from other players, it’s a good quality court and hopefully we’ll see better tennis this year.”

Home favourite Rafa Nadal has also spoken of the courts, “the only thing I can say is thank you to the tournament for the money they have invested to have the highest quality courts here. I think the courts last year were not up to the levels we needed”.

As well as Murray, Federer and Nadal participating in the Spanish capital, World number 1 Novak Djokovic, Spaniard David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych will fancy their chances in the tournament.

Murray, Berdych and Djokovic find themselves in the top half of the draw whilst Nadal, Federer and Ferrer make up the bottom half of the draw.

You can catch all the action on Sky Sports.

Posted in Tennis

Murray up to 2nd in world after Miami victory

Andy Murray came from a set down to beat David Ferrer in the final of the Miami Masters to clinch the title and also a rise in the rankings to 2nd position, replacing Swiss legend Roger Federer who is now 3rd in the world.

The US Open champion is now only one place behind Serbian Novak Djokovic, who was knocked out of the Miami Masters in the quarter finals by unseeded Tommy Haas- a shock defeat to some extent. This gave the Briton the extra incentive to win the tournament.

Spaniard David Ferrer was the man attempting to ruin the party for Murray. Ferrer, seeded third in the tournament behind Murray and Djokovic, made the perfect start- finding himself 5-0 up in the first set and cruised to a 1-0 set lead.

Murray improved massively in the second set but Ferrer kept clawing back and when the score reached 4-4, Murray looked rattled and out of control. Ferrer didn’t make his dominance pay however and a poor game from him followed by an easy served game for Murray levelled the match 1-1 and we went to a final set.

All looked lost in the third and final set when Ferrer took a 6-5 lead and on match point, Murray hit a shot that was close to the baseline, as all the British fans watched their TVs, Ferrer called for a Hawk Eye challenge. The cameras showed that the ball was in and Murray supporters could breathe again. This gave Murray that extra bit of effort and the Scot won the tie break to claim his second Miami Masters.

Murray’s victory and rise in the world rankings will hopefully led him to a success clay season- perhaps the Scots weakest playing surface- and he can mount a serious challenge on the French Open, a competition dominated by Rafa Nadal. All we can do is watch and hope that Murray claims his second Grand Slam in France comes June 9th.