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Andy Murray injury comeback likely to be delayed

  • Posted: May 08, 2018

Andy Murray’s recovery from hip surgery has run into difficulty, and it seems increasingly unlikely he will be able to make his comeback in Loughborough this month.

The double Wimbledon champion is not thought to have done very much at all on court in the past two weeks.

Murray, 30, has also pulled out of two corporate appearances.

The Scot has not played competitively since Wimbledon last year and had an operation on his right hip in January.

Publicly, he has been targeting the grass court season for a return to the tour. But privately there had been high hopes he would be able to play in the new ATP Challenger Tour event in Loughborough, which begins on 21 May.

Sources suggested Murray had been ahead of schedule after returning to the practice courts in late March, although his team has always stressed that recovery will be a slow process with inevitable bumps in the road.

Murray himself said in January he would only return to competition when completely fit and ready.

The first event Murray has publicly committed to is the grass court tournament in Rosmalen in the Netherlands, from 11 to 17 June.

On Monday, he was confirmed on the entry list for the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club the following week, but both appearances must now be in doubt.

Murray had been training at the All England Club in Wimbledon, but first put his hip through its paces at the Mouratoglou Academy in Nice, in southern France.

He posted a photo of a session with the Scottish junior Aidan McHugh on Facebook soon after.

A picture of Murray dipping into an ice bath followed two days later, but his social media posts since have preferred to focus on topics like the NBA play-offs and the fight against malaria.

Murray’s progress has remained a closely guarded secret, although Rafael Nadal did say in Monte Carlo in April that he had spoken over the phone to his long-time friend and rival.

“I have been in that situation,” he told reporters.

“I know how tough and frustrating it is when you work every day and you don’t see the light of how to improve. But then one day trying things, trying treatments, one day things are going better, no?

“If he is healthy, he will be back in a position to fight for the most important things. But as with everybody, you need to be healthy. Without health, you can play but is almost impossible to play at the level that Andy wants to play.”

Murray still has five weeks before he is due to play in Rosmalen, but his absence in Loughborough later this month will also come as a blow to the Lawn Tennis Association.

Without Murray, Lucas Lacko is likely to be the only top 200 player in the field. The Slovak has already triumphed in Glasgow, in the first of two Challenger events organised at short notice by the LTA.

The tournaments will be “invaluable in providing high-quality match experience” for British players, the organisation promised – but in Glasgow there were only seven players inside the top 300, and no-one from Britain survived the second round.

The LTA decided to stage the two events after discussions with Murray’s team, as the LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd explained earlier this month.

“It wasn’t just about Andy, it was about our other players, too,” he said.

“You don’t know who’s going to benefit from them, until you’re going through them. Secondly, trialling something like these two events is valuable to me as to how we think about developing the calendar more broadly in the future.

“In terms of the investment, the costs that we incur across the sport, we have to take those decisions very very carefully, so make no mistake – we do so.

“We have managed to work with a number of different partners that have assisted in putting the tournaments on. I have not spoken to Andy about financing the tournament.”

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Edmund beats Medvedev in Madrid to set up Djokovic tie

  • Posted: May 08, 2018

British number one Kyle Edmund eased to victory over Russia’s Daniil Medvedev to set up a second-round tie with Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open.

Edmund, 23, saved five break points in the first set as the match remained on serve at 4-4.

The world number 22 then reeled off eight straight games to win 6-4 6-0 in one hour 17 minutes.

He will likely enter the world top 20 should he beat 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic on Wednesday.

The Serbian former world number one, who has struggled since returning from elbow surgery, secured his first win against a top-20 opponent in almost a year by beating Kei Nishikori on Monday.

  • Live scores, schedule and results

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Canada’s Milos Raonic hit 30 winners and 12 aces to beat world number four Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 3-6 6-3 in just under two hours.

Raonic will face compatriot Denis Shapovalov in round three after the 19-year-old secured a 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 victory over France’s Benoit Paire.

World number six Juan Martin del Potro eased past Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-3 6-3 to set up a third-round tie with Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic, who beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-1).

In round one, Spain’s 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut beat American Jared Donaldson 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-4 and will next play Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, who saw off Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-4 6-3.

Agut’s compatriots Fernando Verdasco and Albert Ramos Vinolas also moved into round two with victories over Paolo Lorenzi and Peter Gojowczyk respectively, but ninth seed Pablo Carreno Busta was defeated by Croatia’s Borna Coric.

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Madrid Open: Simona Halep beats Elise Mertens to reach third round

  • Posted: May 08, 2018

World number one Simona Halep breezed past Belgium’s Elise Mertens to reach the third round of the Madrid Open.

The Romanian won 6-0 6-3 in 71 minutes to end Mertens’ 13-match winning streak.

Halep won the first eight games of the match and hit 23 winners as she set up a meeting with Czech Kristyna Pliskova.

Earlier, world number 10 Petra Kvitova won her seventh consecutive match with a 6-3 7-6 (10-8) victory over Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig.

Czech Kvitova, who won the Prague Open on Saturday, had lost both her previous meetings with Puig.

Merten’s winning streak included titles in Rabat, Morocco and Lugano, Switzerland.

  • Live scores, schedule and results

However, Kvitova struck 30 winners and, despite nine double faults, won 68% of points on her second serve.

She will play either Daria Kasatkina or Sorana Cirstea next.

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Queen's 2018: Fever-Tree Championships to have its strongest line-up

  • Posted: May 08, 2018

The Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s is set to have its strongest line-up in its 128-year history with 17 of the world’s top 30 taking part.

World number one Rafael Nadal is one of six players from the top 10 who have signed up to play.

The others are Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, Juan Martin del Potro, Kevin Anderson and David Goffin.

Britain’s five-time winner Andy Murray, who is currently injured, is also due to play in the event from 18-24 June.

The 30-year-old had hip surgery after pulling out of the Australian Open in January, and has targeted a comeback for the grass-court season.

Feliciano Lopez will defend his title, while Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic,, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are the latest names to be added to the list of competitors.

“To see six of the world’s top 10 players on our entry list before you even get to the names Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Feliciano Lopez, Nick Kyrgios and the British number one Kyle Edmund really whets the appetite for a fantastic week of tennis,” said tournament director Stephen Farrow.

“We can’t wait to get started.”

The Queen’s Club Championships, now sponsored by drinks brand Fever-Tree, will be live on BBC television, radio and online.

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Pliskova holds off Azarenka in round two in Madrid

  • Posted: May 08, 2018

World number six Karolina Pliskova held her nerve to secure a hard-fought 6-2 1-6 7-5 victory over Victoria Azarenka in round two of the Madrid Open.

Pliskova, 26, eased to the first set only for fellow former world number one Azarenka, 28, to respond by winning five straight games to take the second.

The Belarusian, playing her first clay tournament in two years, hit back from 3-0 down to level the deciding set.

But Pliskova held a tense 11th game before breaking serve to win the match.

The Czech, who won the Stuttgart Open last week, will face Sloane Stephens in round three after the US Open champion beat Australia’s Samantha Stosur 6-1 6-3.

Azarenka missed a large part of last season and this year’s Australian Open due to a custody battle over her son, who was born in December 2016.

The two-time Grand Slam winner will play in the Italian Open next week before making a return to the French Open for the first time since 2016.

  • Djokovic beats Nishikori in Madrid Open
  • Live scores, schedule and results

Earlier on Monday, world number two Caroline Wozniacki edged past Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-2 4-6 6-4.

The Australian Open champion trailed 4-2 in the deciding set but claimed four straight games to secure victory and set up a third-round tie with Dutch player Kiki Bertens, who beat Latvian 15th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-4.

Former world number one Maria Sharapova remains on course for a potential quarter-final against Wozniacki after she beat Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5 6-1.

The 31-year-old Russian, who has had an arm injury in recent weeks, will face Kristina Mladenovic in round three after the Frenchwoman beat China’s Shaui Zhang 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Zhang later partnered Johanna Konta to victory in round one of the women’s doubles as they beat Spanish pair Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja 2-6 6-3 10-3 to set up a tie with fourth seeds Xu Yifan and Gabriela Dabrowski.

British number one Konta will face American qualifier Bernarda Pera in round two of the women’s singles on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in round two, 11th seed Julia Goerges came from a set down to beat Spanish wildcard Lara Arruabarrena 2-6 6-4 6-2.

The German takes on France’s Caroline Garcia in round three after the seventh seed secured a 6-3 7-5 victory over Croatia’s Petra Martic.

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