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Murray: 'Sports Is A Results Business'

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2021

If given the option of playing well or winning, former World No. 1 Andy Murray knows which he would pick.

After a disappointing straight-sets defeat against second seed Diego Schwartzman on Thursday at the European Open, the Scot explained that he is less concerned with his level and more worried about adding to his win total.

“Sport is a results business. If you play well or poorly, it doesn’t really matter if you lose the matches,” Murray said. “You need to be winning and winning matches maybe when you’re not playing your best, which I have done a few times these past few months, but certainly not as many as I would have liked. That’s obviously what I want [in] the last few tournaments [of the season].”

In recent weeks, the 46-time tour-level titlist has discussed how he has felt slow in reading points and adjusting to rallies. Murray added that he has to improve his decision-making.

“I think at times being a bit more solid in the important moments and just getting the balance right about how I’m trying to play,” Murray said. “Today for example, I feel like I moved to the net way too often and it wasn’t particularly successful. Obviously there are some matches if you’re doing that and it’s working, fine.

“But if you keep repeating the same pattern of play or keep trying the same thing and it’s not working, that shows that you’re just not making the right decisions.”

Murray explained that decision-making will never be perfect, but that it is important to recognise when a tactic is not working and changing it accordingly.

“You’re not going to get every single one right in the match,” Murray said. “But you also have to be present enough to acknowledge what is actually happening in the points and why you are winning and losing points.”

The 2019 champion has proven he is capable of competing with some of the ATP Tour’s best players, pushing Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets at the US Open and battling Alexander Zverev in a tight two-setter in Indian Wells. He also showed his fighting spirit in a three-hour, 45-minute victory against Frances Tiafoe in Antwerp.

But Murray knows there is still work to be done to consistently get over the line in tight matches.

“Mentally today I was poor. My attitude was poor on the court and those are two things you can control,” Murray said. “If they’re not there, that also will make the decision-making harder.”

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Harris/Malisse Continue Dream Run, Stun Top Seeds Dodig/Melo In Antwerp

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2021

Lloyd Harris and Xavier Malisse are making the most of their one tournament as a team.

The wild cards advanced to the semi-finals of the European Open on Thursday with a 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 victory against top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo. They will play third-seeded Dutchmen Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer to reach the final.

Malisse has recently been travelling with Harris to coach the South African. They thought it would be fun to compete together once, and received a wild card into the Antwerp doubles draw.

Before this week, Malisse had not competed in a tour-level event in more than eight years — since the 2013 US Open — but he has found the level that took him into the Top 25 in both singles and doubles. The South African-Belgian duo won four fewer points in the match, but still triumphed after 70 minutes.

“I didn’t expect to win,” Malisse told after the pair’s first-round victory. Now they are just two wins from lifting the ATP 250 trophy. 

Second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin also made the last four with a 7-6(3), 6-4 triumph against Austrians Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald. The Frenchmen will face Ukrainian Denys Molchanov and Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the semi-finals.


Brkic/Cacic Claw Through In Moscow
Fourth seeds Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic continued their pursuit of a second ATP Tour title together this year with a 7-6(4), 5-7, 10-8 victory against Britons Dominic Inglot and Ken Skupski in the VTB Kremlin Cup quarter-finals.

They will compete against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka and Spaniard Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals, after Ivashka and Martinez defeated Indian Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 7-6(4), 5-7, 10-8.

Finland’s Harri Heliovaara and Dutchman Matwe Middelkoop also advanced by battling past Russian singles stars Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-4, 2-6, 10-7.

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Schwartzman Downs Murray In Antwerp

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2021

Diego Schwartzman had to bide his time before getting his shot at Andy Murray. Collectively, the Argentine and Scot have played more than 1,250 tour-level matches and their careers have overlapped by more than a decade. But until Thursday, they had never faced off.

But Schwartzman made sure to make the long-awaited moment count when he toughed out a 6-4, 7-6(6) win over the former World No. 1 to reach the quarter-finals of the European Open in Antwerp.

The 29-year-old, who reached back-to-back finals in Antwerp in 2016 and 2017, played consistently from the baseline and demonstrated his fighting skills as rallied from 1-4 down in the first set, before advancing in two hours and 15 minutes.

“It was a pleasure to play against Andy,” Schwartzman said in his on-court interview. “We had not played before and he is coming back and every week he is playing better and moving better. I have a lot of respect because when I grew up playing tennis, I was watching Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Andy and Novak [Djokovic] and right now playing against him, is a pleasure for me.”

Schwartzman arrived in Antwerp after he reached the last eight in Indian Wells, where he defeated Daniel Evans and Casper Ruud before falling to eventual champion Cameron Norrie. The World No. 14 also advanced to the quarter-finals in San Diego.

The 29-year-old now leads Murray 1-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and will face #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima in the last eight. Earlier this season, Schwartzman captured his fourth ATP Tour title on home soil in Buenos Aires and reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

“I really like to play here,” Schwartzman added. “I like the city and the story. It is a very special city for me because when I started to play my best tennis, I reached the finals here twice. I also enjoy it here with the people. It is special after so many months with playing without crowds.”

In a lively start, Murray played aggressively as he hit his groundstrokes with power and depth to outmanoeuvre Schwartzman and move 4-1 ahead. However, the Argentine began to find his range and as Murray began to drop the ball short, Schwartzman started to dictate, winning five straight games to lead.

Fuelled by momentum, the 29-year-old broke in the fifth game of the second set, but was unable to close out the match, with Murray pegging the Argentine back as they moved to a tie-break. In a tight tie-break, Murray saved a match point at 5/6 with one of the eight aces he hit in the match. But the Scot was unable to keep Schwartzman at bay, with the second seed advancing when Murray pushed a forehand long.


Murray, who won the title in Antwerp in 2019, saved two match points in his first-round victory against American Frances Tiafoe that lasted three hours and 45 minutes. The wild card was aiming to reach his second tour-level quarter-final of the season, having enjoyed a run to the last eight in Metz.

Schwartzman’s next opponent, Nakashima, clawed past Swiss Henri Laaksonen 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3 after two hours and 24 minutes.

Nakashima is pursuing a spot in the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. The American began the week in eighth in the ATP Race To Milan.

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Karatsev Overcomes Jetlag, Gerasimov In Moscow

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2021

Aslan Karatsev has been dealing with jetlag since arriving in Moscow, but that did not stop him from making a good start in Moscow on Thursday.

Following defending champion Andrey Rublev’s loss, Karatsev beat Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the VTB Kremlin Cup. He will play former Top 10 star Gilles Simon or American Mackenzie McDonald for a place in the last four.

“It’s quite difficult [to adjust]. The first two days I wasn’t able to sleep on time. I was waking up at 2 a.m. and then I tried to sleep again. I’d fall asleep at 7, get a few hours more from 7 to 10 and then during the day I told myself not to sleep,” Karatsev told “The first day I couldn’t manage it, I fell asleep early in the day. Then the second day I got better, and then today I feel more or less fine. [It’s] just getting better day by day.”


Karatsev and Rublev reached the doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, giving them a quick turnaround to get used to the time difference and indoor conditions in Russia. 

But Karatsev is enjoying competing in Moscow, where he first played in 2012 aged 19. Now 28, he is the second seed and one of the breakthrough stars of 2021. The World No. 22 made a dream run to the Australian Open semi-finals as a qualifier and lifted his first ATP Tour trophy in Dubai.


“To play here with the home crowd, it’s something special. I’ve played many, many times, passing qualies,” Karatsev said. “It’s not like every tournament you play during the year. You have a lot of friends [and] family come here to watch you. It makes it special.”

The home favourite saved the only break point he faced against Gerasimov and won 72 per cent of his service points to advance after one hour and 26 minutes.

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Mannarino Saves 1 MP, Upsets Rublev In Moscow

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2021

In a repeat of the 2019 VTB Kremlin Cup final, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino avenged his defeat to reigning champion Andrey Rublev, saving one match point, edging past the Russian 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals in Moscow.

In a strong performance, Mannarino, who fired nine aces, rallied from a set down and saved one match point on serve at 5-6 30/40 as Rublev hit a backhand up the line and into the net. The 33-year-old then raised his level in the third set, not facing a break point on serve to upset Rubelv after two hours and 30 minutes.

With his victory over World No. 6 Rublev, it is the seventh time Mannarino has defeated a Top 10 player in his career. The 33-year-old has now levelled his ATP Head2Head series with the Russian at 1-1.


Mannarino, who lost to Rublev in straight sets in the 2019 final, has an impressive record at the ATP 250 event, having also reached the championship match in 2018 and the semi-finals in 2017. It is the third tour-level quater-final of the season for Mannarino, after he advanced to last eight in Singapore and semi-finals in Mallorca.

The World No. 51 will next face Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis after the 31-year-old defeated World No. 68 Federico Coria 6-2, 6-1 in 70 minutes.

Rublev captured his eighth tour-level trophy in Rotterdam and advanced to ATP Masters 1000 finals in Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati. The 24-year-old is fifth (4,165 points) in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and is aiming to qualify for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November.

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Harris Marches On In Antwerp

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2021

Seventh seed Lloyd Harris produced a dominant performance on Thursday at the European Open as he overcame German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-3 to reach his fifth tour-level quarter-final of the season.

The 24-year-old, who also advanced to the last eight in Antwerp in 2020, was strong on serve, firing 11 aces and winning 83 per cent (24/29) of points behind his first delivery to advance after 72 minutes.

“I came out pretty solid and didn’t make many mistakes,” Harris said in his on-court interview. “He gave me a few looks at second serves, which helped a bit and I was able to capitalise and build momentum. I just tried to focus on my service games and I knew I was going to create some opportunities.”


With his victory, Harris has improved to 1-4 in his record against German players and will next face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the last eight.

“I am happy to get over the finish line,” Harris added. “Confidence is everything in our sport, so playing with some confidence is a huge advantage. Hopefully I keep rolling with this confidence.”

The South African has earned a career-best 29 tour-level wins this year. The World No. 32 reached the final in Dubai and advanced to the quarter-finals in Halle, Washington and at the US Open.

His next opponent, Fucsovics, rallied past fourth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1 after two hours and 22 minutes.

The Hungarian began the week having lost seven of his previous eight matches. But he has found good form to reach his first quarter-final since Wimbledon.

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Eight Years After Last Tour-Level Match, Malisse Wins With Harris In Antwerp

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2021

Belgian Xavier Malisse was coaching South African Lloyd Harris in Indian Wells when they came up with an interesting idea. They had been hitting together a lot in recent weeks, so why not play doubles together?

Their wish was granted with a wild card from the European Open. And on Wednesday, they beat Monaco’s Romain Arneodo and Australian Matt Reid 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach the quarter-finals in Antwerp. It was Malisse’s first tour-level match since the 2013 US Open, more than eight years ago.

“It was fun. That’s the whole reason we participated,” Malisse told “Honestly it felt nice to be back, it’s nice to play and also alongside Lloyd after a good summer together and good travelling. It felt really good. I was actually pretty happy with how it went.”


The 41-year-old, who cracked the Top 25 in singles and doubles, said this will be their only event. But he was happy to “be back out there and compete one more time”. They play Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo on Thursday after the top seeds beat Dutchmen David Pel and Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 7-6(4).

“[My] serve is a lot slower, so placement becomes more important, but I felt okay,” Malisse said, cracking a laugh. “Most of all we had fun. I didn’t expect to win, but it’s nice to get a win.”

Belgian stars Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, the fourth seeds, were upset. Argentine Federico Delbonis and Spaniard David Vega Hernandez beat the home favorites 5-7, 6-4, 11-9. Austrians Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald also advanced with a 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 victory against Israeli Jonathan Erlich and Swede Andre Goransson.

Top Seeds Eliminated In Moscow
Indian Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi eliminated top seeds Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday to reach the VTB Kremlin Cup quarter-finals.

Bopanna and Qureshi have won five ATP Tour titles together, with their most recent triumph coming in Dubai in 2014.

Second seeds Andrey Golubev and Hugo Nys also lost in Moscow. Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and Argentine Andres Molteni beat them 7-5, 6-7(6), 10-7.

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