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Andy Murray: No fitness risk in playing Wimbledon, says two-time champion

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018
Wimbledon 2018
Venue: All England Club Dates: 2-15 July Starts: 11:30 BST
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, BBC Radio and the BBC Sport website with further coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Britain’s two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray says there is “no risk” to his fitness if he decides to play at the tournament next week.

Murray, 31, has played three matches since making his comeback last week after 11 months out injured.

The Scot says he will “probably” make a decision before the draw is made at 10:00 BST on Friday.

“It’s whether I can do myself justice,” he said. “I want to go out there and compete.”

  • Murray beaten by Edmund at Eastbourne
  • Murray 100% wants to play Wimbledon

Murray had surgery on his right hip in January and returned to competitive action on 18 June when he lost to Nick Kyrgios at Queen’s.

The former world number one earned the first win of his comeback against fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, himself returning from a long-term injury, at Eastbourne on Monday.

He lost in straight sets against Kyle Edmund, who has replaced him as British number one, in their Nature Valley International second round on Wednesday.

“There is no danger of me injuring my hip more than any other stage,” Murray said.

“Two weeks ago I practised with Kyle and I didn’t win a game. I’ve made decent progress in the past couple of weeks and have been somewhat competitive in the matches I have played.

“So I don’t want to go out there to just play, I want to compete properly.

“If I’m in the right place, physically feel ready, and mentally in the right place, then I’ll go for it.”

Beating Murray gives me belief – Edmund

Edmund said it was a “strange” feeling beating Murray, who he described as his “idol”, for the first time on the tour.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman was mentored by Murray in his younger years, with the pair remaining good friends and even practising together in Eastbourne this week.

“It’s different when you have to play someone who is an idol and who helped you when you were a teenager starting on the tour,” said the world number 18.

“So to beat him seems strange but shows I’ve improved a lot.

“To get that win gives you a lot of confidence and belief. The mental side is a tough thing and it was tough to come through.

“I can only play my game and not play the guy at the other end of the court.

“That’s sport – you have to be selfish and win.”

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Edmund beats Murray at Eastbourne – highlights & report

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018
2018 Nature Valley International on the BBC
Venue: Devonshire Park, Eastbourne Dates: 24-30 June
Coverage: Watch the women’s tournament live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app.

Andy Murray was beaten in straight sets by Kyle Edmund at Eastbourne as the three-time Grand Slam champion bids to prove his fitness for Wimbledon.

Murray lost 6-4 6-4 to his replacement as British number one in the Nature Valley International second round.

Edmund’s power was too much for Murray, who was playing only his third match since returning from hip surgery.

He is joined in the quarter-finals by Cameron Norrie, who beat fellow Briton Jay Clarke 6-4 6-3.

  • Wimbledon no fitness risk, says Murray
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Wimbledon starts on Monday and Murray has still not decided whether he will play in the grass-court Grand Slam, which he won in 2013 and 2016.

The 31-year-old Scot only made his return – after a 11-month absence – at Queen’s last week, earning the first win of his comeback against fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka on Monday.

The Wimbledon draw takes place on Friday.

Edmund faces Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarter-finals after the Kazakh world number 90 stunned sixth seed David Ferrer 6-2 6-0.

Norrie, meanwhile, will play Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in the last eight after the world number 94 upset top seed Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-4 7-5.

The past is Murray’s – but is the future Edmund’s?

During Murray’s absence, Edmund has climbed into the world’s top 20 for the first time in his career, allowing him to become the British number one.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman was mentored by Murray in his younger years, with the pair remaining good friends and even practising together in Eastbourne this week.

The match between him and a player now ranked 156th in the world was played in a convivial atmosphere, where support was split between the two players.

This was business for them, however.

Edmund had not beaten his illustrious opponent in their two previous meetings and looked jittery as he closed in on a significant victory.

After going a double break up in the second set, he served for the match at 5-2 but lost the game to love as Murray rallied.

However, he regained his composure at the next attempt, starting the final game with an ace and finishing with a backhand down the line, to win in one hour and 40 minutes.

Edmund is the first British player to beat Murray since Tim Henman in 2006.

Murray looking like his old self

After losing to Nick Kyrgios in his comeback match at Queen’s, Murray had a week off the court – in terms of competitive action, at least – before an impressive victory on Monday against Wawrinka, a player also on the comeback trail after a long-term knee injury.

So this was the next stage of the recovery process for Murray: seeing how his body coped with two matches in three days.

His movement looked sharp enough in the opening set, although even that could not prevent Edmund’s powerful groundstrokes from getting past him.

Edmund broke in the first game, saving four break points himself in the second and missing another, before serving out the first set with a hefty service winner down the middle.

Murray, understandably, looked to be fading as the match headed deep into the second hour on another hot afternoon on the East Sussex coast.

However, he proved again his competitive streak will never diminish.

There was the familiar sight of Murray shouting at himself after an error, and roars of “come on” and “let’s go” when he saved break points in the second set.

And dumping on his racquet on the grass when he coughed up a double fault, giving Edmund the crucial break, further showed he is desperate to win as well as build up his fitness.

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Edmund Ends Murray's Eastbourne Comeback

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018

Edmund Ends Murray’s Eastbourne Comeback

Top Brit gains his first FedEx ATP Head2Head win against Murray

Kyle Edmund has had bigger wins on bigger stages, such as during his Australian Open semi-final run in January. But the 23-year-old might have earned one of his most meaningful victories on Wednesday at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne.

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The top Brit beat mentor and countryman Andy Murray 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the quarter-finals of the ATP World Tour 250 event. Murray, a former World No. 1 on the comeback from hip surgery, hadn’t lost to Edmund in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (2-0), including a 2016 matchup on grass at the Fever-Tree Championships.

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But much has changed for both players in the past two years. Edmund has cracked the Top 20 – he’s playing at No. 18, one off his career-high ATP Ranking – and Murray missed almost an entire year of tour-level action. Before last week’s Fever-Tree Championships, the Scot hadn’t played for 342 days, since his 2017 Wimbledon quarter-final loss against American Sam Querrey.

Murray, however, beat Stan Wawrinka in his Eastbourne opener and competed well against his confident countryman on Wednesday. More importantly, probably for him, he showed no visible signs of his hip injury affecting him on court. Murray raced behind the baseline, chasing cannons from Edmund’s forehand, without pulling up.

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It was that shot, though, the same one that has carried Edmund to a home inside the Top 20, that helped him beat his 31-year-old off-season training partner. Edmund broke in the opening game when Murray shanked a forehand off the court, and he littered their rallies with big forehands, forcing Murray to stay feet behind the baseline. Murray tried to pick on Edmund’s weaker wing, his backhand, but Edmund defended it well, rarely going a few shots without seeing another forehand.

Read More: Murray Confident He Can Compete With The Best

In the second set, it looked as if Murray might rally. At 1-1, he came back from 15/40, peppering the crowd with his familiar rally cries of “Let’s go!” and “Come on!” But Edmund was too solid and too strong, even when on the run and even when hitting his backhand. He stumbled while first serving for the match at 5-2, but Edmund recovered in the 10th game and held to 15.

Edmund will next meet Kazahkstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin, who saved all seven break points to beat Spaniard David Ferrer 6-2, 6-0.

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15,000 Serves Later, We Know The Favourite Spot of Raonic, Other Best Servers

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018

15,000 Serves Later, We Know The Favourite Spot of Raonic, Other Best Servers

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers dives deep into the data to show where the best servers in tennis go to most often

The five biggest servers in our sport have a favourite spot to hit their aces – and it’s not where you think.

Fifteen thousand serves to the corners by the five biggest servers in our game uncover some fascinating insights into how power and direction dominate the start of the point.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of first serves out wide and down the T in both the Deuce and Ad courts reveals where aces occur the most from the tall timber, and how likely their towering first serves are to be returned back in play.

The following five players lead the ATP World Tour in Average Aces Per Match for the past 52 weeks and are the focus of this first-serve analysis.

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Player Height / Average Aces Per Match Past 52 Weeks
6’11” / Ivo Karlovic 22.6
6’10” / John Isner 19.6
6’4” / Gilles Muller 16.5
6’8” / Kevin Anderson 16.4
6’5” / Milos Raonic 15.0

The overall data set of 15,020 first serves for these five players comes from 2011-2018 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and Nitto ATP Finals.

Here are three things we learned from the big five servers:

Deuce Court Wide = No. 1 for Aces
Isner led the way with aces out wide in the Deuce court with 473 to this specific location. Interestingly, it was 108 more than he hit down the T (365) in the Deuce court.

Karlovic and Muller also targeted out wide more than down the T, while Anderson and Raonic went slightly more to the T. We seem to remember bombs right down the centre T a lot more from taller players, but it’s wide in the Deuce court that delivers the most free points.

Ace Location
Deuce Court Wide = 28.8%
Deuce Court T = 26.5%
Ad Court T = 23.5%
Ad Court Wide = 21.2%

2. Deuce Court Wide = No. 1 for Unreturned Serves
The first thing to consider is that this location is directed towards a right-hander’s more potent forehand return, but it also taps into the natural slice motion of a right-handed server. Most returners will be looking/leaning towards a serve down the T to their backhand, so the surprise factor out wide also contributes to the return being missed.

Most Unreturned Serves (not including aces)
Deuce Court Wide = 29.0%
Deuce Court T = 25.7%
Ad Court Wide = 24.1%
Ad Court T = 21.2%

3. Ad Court Wide = Most Returned Serves
Players at all levels of the game target the wide serve in the Ad court as a way to get free points from the first serve. The theory is solid as you are pulling a right-handed opponent off the court and stretching him to hit a backhand return. But the analysis shows that more first serves are returned back into play from this position than anywhere else.

Most Returned Serves
Ad Court Wide = 48.2%
Ad Court T = 47.3%
Deuce Court T = 44.8%
Deuce Court Wide = 43.6%

Muller, the only lefty in the group, had 49 per cent of his first serves unreturned from this typical lefty location. But he actually had fewer returned (44 per cent) when he served down the T in the Ad court.

Holding serve is definitely about power and hitting spots, but it’s also about getting inside your opponent’s head and figuring out where they think you’re going and switching it up.

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Eastbourne: Johanna Konta beaten by Caroline Wozniacki

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018
2018 Nature Valley International on the BBC
Venue: Devonshire Park, Eastbourne Dates: 24-30 June
Coverage: Watch the women’s tournament live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Johanna Konta’s final tournament before Wimbledon ended in a three-set defeat by top seed Caroline Wozniacki at Eastbourne.

Konta, 27, lost 4-6 6-1 6-4 in front of her home crowd at the Nature Valley International.

It was her first defeat in three matches against the Danish world number two.

Wozniacki will play Ash Barty in the quarter-finals after the Australian eighth seed beat Hsieh Su-wei 6-0 6-4.

Konta’s next outing will be at Wimbledon, which starts at the All England Club on Monday.

Earlier in the day, third seed Petra Kvitova, who won last week’s Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, pulled out of Eastbourne with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, German fourth seed Angelique Kerber made quick work of her match against American Danielle Collins, triumphing 6-1 6-1 in 53 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.

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Monfils Edges First Test In Antayla

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018

Monfils Edges First Test In Antayla

Garcia-Lopez saves one match point to beat Haase

Gael Monfils got off to a winning start on his Turkish Airlines Open Antalya debut on Wednesday, but was made to work hard for a place in the quarter-finals.

The fourth seed beat Slovenian qualifier Blaz Kavcic 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in two hours and four minutes, having led by one set and 2-0. Monfils recovered from 3-4, 15/40 in the deciding set, breaking in the 11th game. The 31-year-old Frenchman lifted his seventh ATP World Tour trophy (7-20 in finals) in the first week of 2018 at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final (d. Rublev).

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“It’s always good to have your first grass-court match under your belt,” said Monfils. “It’s never easy, particularly against a qualifier, who has had more time on the courts. I’m not a big grass specialist, but I always try my best.

“The grass is a little soft, so it doesn’t bounce as well, meaning I had to concentrate and be on top of my game. I would like to come back into the Top 10, and now I feel I am back 100 per cent body-wise, but I need to get fitter. He was fighting all the time. I received great support, particularly in front of the kids, and I think we gave them a good show.”

World No. 41 Monfils finished in the year-end Top 10 of the ATP Rankings in 2016 after achieving a career-high of No. 6 on 7 November 2016. However, knee and Achilles injuries hampered his time on the court last season.

Monfils will next face Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who saved one match point to defeat fifth-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) victory in two hours and 27 minutes. Haase held his nerve on serve at 5-6, 30/40 and Ad-Out, in the second set and held one match point opportunity at 6-5, with Garcia-Lopez serving at Ad-Out. In their only previous meeting, Garcia-Lopez also beat Haase 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) at the 2014 ASB Classic.

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Mannarino, Dzumhur Lead Antalya Seeds Into QFs

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018

Mannarino, Dzumhur Lead Antalya Seeds Into QFs

Herbert beats defending champion Sugita

The top two seeds — France’s Adrian Mannarino and Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina — both advanced on Wednesday to the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya quarter-finals.

Top seed Mannarino, last year’s finalist, improved to 6-1 at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in 79 minutes. He struck 10 aces and lost 10 of his first-service points (30/37).

Mannarino now faces sixth-seeded Portuguese Joao Sousa, who beat Mirza Basic of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 28 minutes.

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Basic’s compatriot, second seed Dzumhur, later needed one hour and 54 minutes to oust Romania’s Marius Copil 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Copil hit 10 aces, saving 11 of 13 break points to frustrate Dzumhur, who had lost his past two matches.

Dzumhur now prepares to face France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who held his nerve to beat seventh-seeded Japanese Yuichi Sugita, the defending champion, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) in two hours and nine minutes.

Mirnyi/Oswald Survive QF Test
At 5/5 in the second-set tie-break, Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald were two points from defeat. But the second seeds raised their level, overcoming France’s Jonathan Eysseric and Hugo Nys 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-6.

Mirnyi and Oswald won 42 of 45 points behind their first serves in the one-hour, 31-minute contest to improve to 15-10 this season. In the semi-finals, the Belarusian-Austrian duo will face third-seeded Sander Arends and Matwe Middelkoop. The Dutchmen also needed a Match Tie-break to advance, defeating Radu Albot and Guido Pella 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.

Marcelo Demoliner and Santiago Gonzalez defeated fourth seeds Andres Molteni and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo 6-1, 7-6(3). Demoliner and Gonzalez won all five second-serve return points and converted both break points they created in a dominant first set before securing victory after 67 minutes.

The Brazilian-Mexican tandem will meet fellow unseeded team Roman Jebavy and Julio Peralta for a spot in the championship match. Jebavy and Peralta defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Joao Sousa 7-6(5), 6-3, 10-6.

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Lacko Upsets Schwartzman In Eastbourne

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2018

Lacko Upsets Schwartzman In Eastbourne

Roland Garros semi-finalist Cecchinato wins first match on grass

Slovakian Lukas Lacko recorded the biggest win of his career on Wednesday when he knocked out Diego Schwartzman, currently a career-high No. 11 in the ATP Rankings, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 at the Nature Valley International. His previous best victory had come in February 2011 at San Jose against No. 17-ranked Sam Querrey in the first round.

Schwartzman came within one point of taking a 3-0 lead in the deciding set before a tense finish. Lacko clinched his second match point chance in a 12-point final game, which ended with the World No. 94 forcing his Argentinean opponent into a forehand error.

Schwartzman has yet to win a match on grass courts (0-7). Lacko, who captured his 12th ATP Challenger Tour title (12-12) in May this year in Glasgow (d. Vanni), will next face a Briton in lucky loser Jay Clarke or wild card Cameron Norrie.

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Marco Cecchinato made his breakthrough on the spring European clay-court swing, but on Wednesday at Devonshire Park, the Italian recorded the first grass-court win of his career, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 over 2015 finalist Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, for a place in the quarter-finals. He will now prepare to face fifth-seeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer or John Millman of Australia on Thursday.

Cecchinato clinched his first ATP World Tour title on 29 April at the Gazprom Hungarian Open (d. Millman) and earlier this month reached the Roland Garros semi-finals (l. to Thiem).

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