May 1, 2016

Murray to Face Nadal in Monte-Carlo Semis; Federer Falls to Tsonga

Nadal 881

(April 15, 2016) Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal posted decisive victories and will play each other in the semifinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Saturday. Roger Federer returning to the court for the first time since his knee surgery in February fell to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Tsonga will play fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the other semifinal.

No. 5 Nadal dominated No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 while No. 2 Murray destroyed Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0.

“If I play like I did today, I’ll have a chance,” said Murray.

“Rafa, especially on this court, he plays great on clay obviously, but on this one in particular, his record is incredible. I think he’s maybe only lost one or two matches in his life here. So, yeah, it’s a great test for me this early on in the clay season.

“I’ll go into the match with confidence having managed to win against him in Madrid on the clay last year, and having played a really good match today.

“I look forward to it.”

 

“I’ll have to play a great match, but also a smart match as well,” Murray explained. “I need to be intelligent on the court, go in with a very good idea of what I want to do in the points.

“So, yeah, that’s the most important thing, to have a good game plan and be smart on the court. Against Rafa on this surface, he has the ability to get you to sort of play – I don’t know what the word is – but he gets you to go for more than you should because he’s so consistent.

“He hits a lot of height on the ball, a lot of spin. He can make you go for winners from uncomfortable positions. You have to not allow that to happen. You need to try and stay calm, be patient. I’ll try to do that.”

Nadal broke Wawrinka’s serve four times to reach his 11th Monte-Carlo semifinal. The Swiss broke his racquet in the fifth game of the first set to the boos of spectators. Wawrinka said he was disturbed by all of the noise coming from the restaurant above the court.

“You wonder whether people are coming to have lunch or to watch tennis. I don’t believe they saw a lot of the match. I think they also drank a lot of alcohol.” Wawrinka said. “When you don’t play well and you’re not in your match, it can bother you.”

“Anyway, it was not a good day for me today,” Wawrinka said. “I really need to work on two or three things that I want to improve. I have two weeks, or a bit more, before I go to Madrid. I will try to prepare well during that period.”

I believe today it was more of a concentration issue or mentally that I had a problem. I struggled. I rushed at the beginning. This is something you pay for against Rafa.”

“The real thing is every day is a different story,” Nadal said. “Yesterday I played against an opponent that he was playing so good, in my opinion. Is true that my serve probably was a little bit better today than yesterday. But both days I think I played good, no?

“Stan today, I think the last three games of the first set, that’s the only moment that he didn’t play well. Obviously he played with too many mistakes.

“But in the beginning of the match and in the second set was a good match, in my opinion. Both played good points.

“I think he played with more mistakes than me. But is true at same time he is going more for the shots all the time. When you want to play this way, very aggressive, you can have mistakes.

“I think I played good. I defended well. I moved well. When I had the opportunity, I was trying to have the control of the point with my forehand and with my backhand, too.”

Nadal plays Murray for a place in the final. The Spaniard has a 16-6 record against the Scot.

“He played a great match today,” Nadal said. “We’ll see. I need to be ready to play the way I am playing the last two matches. If I am able to do it, I hope to have my chances.

“He always was a good clay court player, no? He played semifinals of French Open twice or three times, I don’t know.”

Federer was two points away from defeating Tsonga at 6-3, 2-6, 5-4 with the Frenchman serving, but could not close.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it had definitely some twists and turns,” said Federer. “I’m not sure how come. Maybe we were both a bit up and down. We had a couple of games here and there that we kind of gave each other on the serve. Kind of hung onto it, me in the first, him in the second.

“Third was close all the way through. Maybe had a small chance the first game maybe. The game I got broken is a tough game to get broken on because I think I had three forehands that I’m in good position, and I end up losing all three points. It’ll a tough break to get.

“You know, it was a good tournament, a good match, exactly what I was hoping for and more, so I’m very happy.”

“It was a good match. It was nice to play an intense match. I’m happy how the body reacted. So many good things this week. It’s all positive for me.

“I know where I’m at now. I hope my knee and my body is going to be okay the next couple of days. If I’m good, I might go practice tomorrow as well just to get the body into maybe a rhythm of playing maybe four days straight at a very intense level. If I feel like I need a break, the team tells me to rest, I’ll do that tomorrow.

“Things are really good right now. Of course, it was unfortunate because I had my chances. But this tournament, really doesn’t matter at all if I missed or not those chances.”

 

“It’s always special to play against him, especially on court, because you have all the crowd against you,” said Tsonga. “Wherever you play, if it’s in France or not, it’s tough to play against him because you have him, the crowd and all the monument around him.

“Yeah, it’s always special to win against Federer.”

“I was expecting a difficult match, and that is exactly what happened. He was very reactive, he was running well. From the start, I thought he was very fast.

“But I was able to turn it around. He dropped his level a little bit and I was able to come back into the match and end up winning. It’s good for me.”

 

As for playing fellow Frenchman and friend Gael Monfils next: “You feel a bit more worried against him. Before, he had his own way. Now, he changed. But it’s still him.

“He’s certainly improved in a number of things, but it’s still him. I don’t really know what to expect. I’ll go on the court doing what I’m used to doing: trying to be aggressive, serving well. Gael is just the way he is. He is him. It’s good.”

“There’s not a real favorite (in the match), “ Tsonga said. “It’s going to be an interesting match. It’s difficult to say who will be the favorite.”

“It’s going to be a big match for several reasons,” Monfils said. “First, Jo has a game that I have trouble with. I was able to beat him once, but he was coming back from an injury.

“Another time I beat him, too. He was injured in Montpellier. I can’t say I really beat him.

He gives me many problems. It’s always the case when I play against very aggressive players. There are different kinds of aggressive players. A real aggressive player is difficult for me.

“Tomorrow the match will be different. I will need to find a solution to push him back and to try to stop him dominating the rallies.

“I’m sure 100% that he will try to be very aggressive. He will not want long rallies. He will want to use his forehand as much as he can, and he will be very aggressive on my second serve.

“So if I have a slight advantage in this match, it’s because I know what he’s going to do. He’s going to play aggressively. I don’t believe I’m wrong.”

“I think it’s going to be explosive.”

 

 

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 15 APRIL 2016

Singles – Quarter-finals
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [10] M. Raonic (CAN) 62 60
[8] J. Tsonga (FRA) d [3] R. Federer (SUI) 36 62 75
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 61 64
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d [LL] M. Granollers (ESP) 62 64

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 64 64
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d D. Inglot (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR) 64 36 12-10
[4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) 62 63
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 16 APRIL 2016

COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 3:30 pm
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [8] J. Tsonga (FRA)
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs [3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)

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Murray, Nadal and Federer Reach Monte-Carlo Quarterfinals

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(April 14, 2016) World No. 2 Andy Murray rallied from a set and two breaks down to beat Benoit Paire 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday. Also advancing were No. 3 Roger Federer, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5 Rafael Nadal, No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,  No. 10 Milos Raonic, No. 13 Gael Monfils, and unseeded Marcel Granollers.

“It was a big win is what it was,” Murray said.  “You know, to win from 6-2, 3-0 down, two breaks, when you’re not playing particularly well, it’s a great effort.

“You know, those matches are important. It would have been easy to lose today and get down on myself. But I kept fighting right the way through to the end.

“Definitely, you know, the second set was sort of ups and downs. I didn’t feel like in the third that was the case so much. I mean, I think I broke him twice, he broke me once.

“But, yeah, it was a good one to get through because I could have easily lost today. Fought well, good effort.”

“I think he played a bad game at 3-0 in the second to give me one of the breaks back,” the Scotman noted as the turning point in the match. “I felt like I was in with a chance then. That was really the point of the match where it turned a little bit for me. I mean, there was still a lot of work to be done at that stage. Obviously he served for the match in the third.”

“I made a bad dropshot and a bad volley that wasn’t too difficult,” Paire said. “I lost the game. It was 3-1. I started wondering. It allowed him to get back into the match. I wasn’t playing the simple tennis I was playing from the start. I was no longer waiting for the right shot to come.

“I think I should have won that match and I’m extremely disappointed.”

“I’m playing good matches. I have good results. I’m close to the top players.

“What happened today, I was a bit stressed when it was at the point of trying to close out the match. I made a mistake. I should have just put the ball back into play, for example. I have many regrets.”

 

Federer had straight forward 6-2, 6-4 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut.

“I felt as good as in the first match, or maybe not as good, because I felt a bit tired,” said the world No. 3. “I can feel it in my body right now. I feel a bit soft, without energy.

“But as the match progressed, I felt better and better. Once I made the break, I was able to relax a little more. Bautista Agut, it was the first time I played him. I wasn’t sure whether he would stay far behind or make dropshots. I saw him do that against Chardy. I was playing in a way he couldn’t make those dropshots, so it was a good match.

“I felt good. In the beginning of the second, I could have made more breaks. So it could have gone my way very early.

“I’m happy with what I did. He’s a good player.”

 

Nadal had to come back from a break in the first set to oust Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-3. The Spaniard overcame 15 of 16 break points against him in the first set.

“The good thing, in my opinion, the best thing is he didn’t play bad the breakpoints,” said Nadal. “It was more that I played well in the breakpoints than he played bad.

“So happy for that because that mean that I was ready to find and take the right decisions in the most important moments. I was able to fight all the moments, no? I never give up in all these tough moments that I had in the first set. So very happy for that.

“I think I played a solid match in general. That’s why I’m in the next round, because the opponent was very hard.”

“I think I played a good match. In terms of level of tennis, was great I think. In terms of fighting spirit and attitude and being ready to accept the mistakes, the good points, the tough moments, was similar way that I played in Indian Wells.

“That was a great continuation against a very tough player. I think he played a great match, too. Was a very good victory for me. Very happy for that.”

Next match for Nadal will be Stan Wawrinka, who beat Nadal in the final of the 2014 Australian Open. “Stan, he’s always very dangerous opponent and he’s a great player,” said the 14-time major champion. “I know when he’s playing well, it’s difficult to stop him because he’s able to hit so hard the ball from every part of the court. He’s able to serve so good, too.

“We’ll see. Will be a tough one. I only can think about myself. I have to continue the same way than today, fighting for every point, playing with my strategy. We’ll see if I am able to play like today or maybe little bit better. Let’s see.”

“I will have to play well if I want to have a chance to keep winning,” Wawrinka said about his next match. “Rafa is always tough to play on clay. He’s a left-hander. It’s always complicated to play against him.”

Novak Djokovic’s conqueror has been conquered. Jiri Vesely, who stunned tennis’ top player in the second round lost to Gael Monfils in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 14 APRIL 2016

Singles – Third Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [16] B. Paire (FRA) 26 75 75
[3] R. Federer (SUI) d [14] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 62 64
[4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [15] G. Simon (FRA) 61 62
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d [12] D. Thiem (AUT) 75 63
[8] J. Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] L. Pouille (FRA) 64 64
[10] M. Raonic (CAN) d [Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) 63 46 76(5)
[LL] M. Granollers (ESP) d [11] D. Goffin (BEL) 76(1) 64
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d J. Vesely (CZE) 61 62

Doubles – Second Round
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 62 63
[2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) 76(4) 62
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d [WC] R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) ret. (Verdasco – calf)
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 64 63
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 15 APRIL 2016

COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[10] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[3] R. Federer (SUI) vs [8] J. Tsonga (FRA)
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [LL] M. Granollers (ESP)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
After Suitable Rest – [3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs D. Inglot (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR)
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)

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Monte-Carlo: Roger Federer Gets First Win Since Knee Surgery; Andy Murray Advances

Roger Federer (2)-001

(April 12, 2016) Roger Federer made his return to the court on Tuesday at the Monte-Carlo Masters with a 6-3, 6-4 second round victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Federer had been off the tour since reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open due to arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on February 3. He was to have played at the Miami Open, but withdrew from the event prior to his first match due to a stomach virus.

“The knee felt really good, like in practice,” Federer said to media. “Felt like I didn’t have to worry about it. I could just go freely. I think I’m at a point now where, you know, I’m looking more forward in the sense that whenever I can dig out a good point, I did good movement, I just kind of went for the dropshot without having second thoughts. It’s only building on my confidence now, which is great.

“It’s been like that for at least, I’d say, over a week now. Yeah, I was very pleased how I felt, even how I played. I mean, he did kind of go for his shots, but we had longer rallies in the beginning of the first set.

“I think in a way it was a perfect match. It was close in the beginning, then I was able to go on a roll. Points were cut short by virtue of me serving better and returning better, getting second serves, taking advantage of that fact.

“At the end, again, I had to fight for it. I went through different phases in the match. Also emotionally. I was excited and tense in the beginning just because it’s a first round. It’s my first match back. So it was nice to go through all these emotions.

“At the end he’s a guy that knows how to close out, knows how to play points on clay. It was a great win for me. I said beforehand, it was always going to be a winning result today, regardless of winning or losing essentially. I’m just very happy I’m back on the tour again.

“I think I got what I needed. So we’ll see how I feel tomorrow, tonight, the next day. Sometimes after a match, you can feel it for two days. At this point I’m pretty confident I’ll feel fine.”

The 17-time major champion was asked if he was afraid during the process of having surgery and not being 100% on the court, he said: “For me, the toughest moment was the two hours after waking up. I couldn’t feel my knee, my leg. I could hardly move my toes. It was hurting a little. This is when I was a bit afraid about the future. Suddenly I thought that I needed to really go for it if I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I was wondering.

“But then my father came to visit me in the hospital. Mirka was there, too. The first evening things were already better. We were joking again with my doctor. It was good to see everybody there.

“The next day or two days later I had a meeting with the whole team to talk about our plan, our schedule, how we were going to do the rehabilitation process, what tournament I could start playing again. From there, it became a lot more pleasant because I was able to be much more positive mentally. I knew we had a plan.

“Once you have a plan, it’s better. You have to wait until the surgery is over to know how the surgery went. Then it was good talking with the doctor who told me what I could expect for the next 10 days, the next three weeks, et cetera. So there was a slight possibility of me playing Miami.

It’s always good to have a goal. So the goal was Miami. In the end, I was very satisfied to say I was ready to play for that tournament, but unfortunately the virus stopped me from doing that.”

World No. 2 Andy Murray had a few serving hiccups in his win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in his second-round match in Monte-Carlo.

“I’ve definitely been a little bit flat since the Davis Cup really,” said the Scot. “I don’t know exactly why that’s been the case. But in a lot of my matches, it’s been that way, you know, some good stuff mixed in with some pretty bad stuff.

“The norm is bad just now, so I need to kind of improve on that. You know, even when I’m not playing my best, play more solid, make it more difficult for my opponents.

“When I’ve been playing well, I’m actually hitting the ball very clean. But just the consistency has not been there, maybe not as sharp as I could be mentally. Concentration’s not been so good.”

ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Monte-Carlo, Monaco (+2 hours GMT)
10-17 April 2016 Surface: Clay

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 12 APRIL 2016

Singles – Second Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [Q] P. Herbert (FRA) 62 46 63
[3] R. Federer (SUI) d G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 63 64
[8] J. Tsonga (FRA) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 76(1) 76(5)
[14] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d J. Chardy (FRA) 63 57 75
[15] G. Simon (FRA) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) 64 63

Singles – First Round
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) d F. Lopez (ESP) 75 60
J. Vesely (CZE) d T. Gabashvili (RUS) 36 75 75
P. Lorenzi (ITA) d F. Fognini (ITA) 26 60 61
[WC] F. Verdasco (ESP) d F. Delbonis (ARG) 60 63
[Q] T. Daniel (JPN) d A. Mannarino (FRA) 63 64
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) d B. Coric (CRO) 64 64
[Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) d R. Haase (NED) 62 60
P. Cuevas (URU) d [Q] D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 76(2) 67(2) 76(4)
J. Sousa (POR) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 63 76(4)

Doubles – Second Round
[4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE) 67(5) 76(9) 14-12

Doubles – First Round
D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) d O. Marach (AUT) / D. Thiem (AUT) 76(5) 76(4)

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 13 APRIL 2016

COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs A. Bedene (GBR)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs J. Vesely (CZE)
P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs [13] G. Monfils (FRA)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH)
Not Before 1:00 pm
P. Cuevas (URU) vs [10] M. Raonic (CAN)
[9] R. Gasquet (FRA) vs [WC] L. Pouille (FRA)
A. Zverev (GER) vs [LL] M. Granollers (ESP)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[16] B. Paire (FRA) vs J. Sousa (POR)
[Q] T. Daniel (JPN) vs [12] D. Thiem (AUT)
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [WC] F. Verdasco (ESP)
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs R. Lindstedt (SWE) / A. Peya (AUT)

COURT 9 start 11:00 am
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)
D. Inglot (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR) vs [7] E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)

COURT 11 start 2:00 pm
[8] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) vs T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)

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Svetlana Kuznetsova Upsets Serena Williams at Miami Open; Andy Murray Also Ousted

(March 28, 2016) Serena Williams’ twenty match winning streak at the Miami Open was snapped by Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round on Monday.

It’s the first time since 2000 that the American has not reached the quarterfinals of the Miami event. The world No. 1 was trying to win her fourth straight and ninth title in Key Biscayne.

The 34-year-old, 21-time major champion has not won a tournament since winning the event in Cincinnati last August.

“It’s obviously disappointing, but I’ve won here a lot, so it’s okay,” Williams said in her news conference.

“I did the best that I could. My fans, you know, I did the best I could do. I can’t win every match. The players come out and play me like they’ve never played before in their lives.

“You know, the best that I could do today. I have to be 300% every day, so…”

Russian Kuznetsova made only 15 unforced errors to Williams’ 50.  Kuznetsova broke serve 6 times. The 15th seed won Miami back in 2006.

“I’m too old,” Kuznetsova said in her on-court interview. “I’ve been many times on this court. I love being back here, and I’m really happy with my performance.”

“Physically I’m fine,” Williams said. “I don’t know, I guess I didn’t move today. Maybe that was one of the things that didn’t work out for me.”

Asked about if there are too many expectations placed on her, Williams said: “I don’t think there is expectations. I mean, there obviously is expectations, but I think overall I put a lot of expectations on myself more than anything.

“So that’s pretty hard to live up to, is the expectations I put on myself.

“I have so many people saying congratulations I feel like I won the title already,” Kuznetsova told media. “Not real.

“Now these days the tennis is extremely tough and each opponent is really difficult to play. I’m just focusing for tomorrow’s match. I don’t have too much time to rest.

“Really looking forward to give my best another day tomorrow.”

“I knew I had to go for my serves. I think I barely did double fault. I knew I had to go aggressive. If I would give some easy second serves I would get my ass kicked, you know, out there.”

Asked if she thought Williams was struggling, she said: “I mean, you say drama when somebody, No. 1, which is probably one of the greatest in the history of athletes didn’t win four slams. This is drama. For me this would be miracle of the year. For us it’s drama that she didn’t win the fourth Grand Slam of the year.

“She struggled a little bit probably because she lost Australian Open, but, I mean, she is still No. 1 and she still plays great. I don’t see much to be depressed about.”

“I mean, going into today’s match I knew she is not on her top game, but neither was I. I didn’t feel good. I knew I was hang in there and I will fight for each ball.

“It’s her game, as I said, mentioned earlier. She goes for her shots, and I have to move her as more I can and make her do more unforced errors. This is my goal, how I have to win, because I’m not going to overhit her or do more winners than Serena, or do more aces. This is not my game.

“If I put myself and Serena on the paper, that’s what I fight for: for her to make unforced errors, to bring more returns back, to serve better, and I think it worked really well for me today.”

In addition to the top seed falling, the No. 2 on the women’s side also lost. 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska,  lost to No. 19 Timea Bacsinszky 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

A major upset took place on the men’s side as well when No. 2 Andy Murray lost to No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-3. Dmitrov won the last five games to close the match.

Murray made 55 unforced errors and had his serve broken six times in the match.

“I got myself up 3-1 in the third set, which is a good position to be in, and then the mistakes started creeping in,” Murray said. “That’s nothing to do with adjustments. A lot were unforced errors and just poor mistakes.”

“I made many more mistakes than usual, especially in the third set, so that was surprising for me.

“But, again, I got myself in a winning position, so it’s not like I came out and played like awful stuff the whole match. Just when you get in winning positions you need to put your foot down. The last two tournaments I certainly haven’t done that.”

“In then the third set managed to get up a break and then a lot of unforced errors. Credit to him. He was more solid than me.”

“I’m happy,” Dimitrov said. “Of course I’m happy with that victory. Every time you beat a top player you know you must have done something good.

“As I said, I’m just very happy with the win and just focusing on the next round. I’m not trying to rank anything right now. I’m still in the tournament. Looking for my next opponent. It’s a good win. Still in a way it’s the beginning of the year. Clay is coming after.

“So just focusing on what I have to do.”

There is only one of the top five men’s seeds left – No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

MIAMI OPEN PRESENTED BY ITAU – MIAMI, UNITED STATES

21 MARCH – 3 APRIL, 2016

RESULTS – MARCH 28, 2016
Women’s Singles – Fourth Round
[15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [1] S. Williams (USA) 67(3) 61 62
[2] A. Kerber (GER) d T. Babos (HUN) 62 36 64
[19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d [3] A. Radwanska (POL) 26 64 62
[13] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [4] G. Muguruza (ESP) 76(6) 76(4)
[5] S. Halep (ROU) d [WC] H. Watson (GBR) 63 64
[30] E. Makarova (RUS) d [12] E. Svitolina (UKR) 61 64
[22] M. Keys (USA) d I. Begu (ROU) 63 61
[24] J. Konta (GBR) d [32] M. Niculescu (ROU) 62 62

Women’s Doubles – Second Round
M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) 64 62
[3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) 62 63

 

Men’s Singles – Third Round
[26] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d [2] A. Murray (GBR) 67(1) 64 63
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [27] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 62 62
[17] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [9] J. Tsonga (FRA) 26 63 76(3)
[12] M. Raonic (CAN) d [22] J. Sock (USA) 76(3) 64
[16] G. Monfils (FRA) d [23] P. Cuevas (URU) 63 64
[24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [Q] T. Smyczek (USA) 64 64
D. Dzumhur (BIH) d [Q] M. Kukushkin (KAZ) 46 61 62
An. Kuznetsov (RUS) d A. Mannarino (FRA) 26 75 60

Doubles – Second Round
[4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / V. Troicki (SRB) walkover
[5] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d A. Qureshi (PAK) / G. Simon (FRA) 62 63
[WC] O. Jasika (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS) d D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) 63 64
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d [PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) 76(10) 60

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2016
STADIUM start 11:00 am
ATP – [10] R. Gasquet (FRA) vs [7] T. Berdych (CZE)

Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs [5] S. Halep (ROU)
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [14] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [16] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [26] G. Dimitrov (BUL)

Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – [15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [30] E. Makarova (RUS)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [17] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)

GRANDSTAND start 10:50 am
ATP – [LL] H. Zeballos (ARG) vs [15] D. Goffin (BEL)
ATP – [18] G. Simon (FRA) vs L. Pouille (FRA)
ATP – [24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs An. Kuznetsov (RUS)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – D. Dzumhur (BIH) vs [12] M. Raonic (CAN)

COURT 1 start 4:00 pm
WTA – [4] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs C. Dellacqua (AUS) / S. Stosur (AUS)
WTA – M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs V. King (USA) / A. Kudryavtseva (RUS)

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Miami Open: Rafael Nadal Retires From Match, Serena Williams and Andy Murray Win

(March 26, 2016) Rafael Nadal retired from this match against Damir Dzumhur. Trailing 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 on Saturday at the Miami Open. The 14-time major winner had to call for the trainer three times during the match. It marked only the third time that the world No. 5 has retired from a match, the last time coming in the 2010 Australian Open.

Asked if the heat got to him, Nadal said to media: “Well, everything was fine until end of the first set. I start to feel myself not very good. It’s getting worse, worse, and worse, so finally in the second set I realize that I was not able to keep playing.

“I tried to resist, but I get a little bit scared to be too dizzy and lose a little bit…….
“So I call the doctor a couple of times, but I felt that I was not safe there so I decided to go. I wanted to finish the match, but I seriously could not.”

Hopefully is nothing,” Nadal continued. “Hopefully is just the extreme conditions out there. Something happen, hopefully is the beginning of a virus, and in combination with the conditions I had this strange feelings.”

“Was tough for me because I felt myself I was playing well; I had good practices after playing a great week in Indian Wells.

“It’s a hard accident, but that’s life and it’s like this. If the health is fine in a couple of days, so nothing important is there — the most important thing is health than any tournament. If I am able to practice in a couple of days I know I was playing well and I hope to be ready for the clay.”

“Definitely not the way I wanted to finish,” said Dzumhur. “It was really tough to play today. I felt also really like tired, heavy, in some moments dizzy on the court. In the first set we played very long second game. After that game I felt like I cannot run that well.

“In the first set I really didn’t have chances. Between the first and second set I call medical. I was thinking really about retirement, but just said to myself, I’m playing big Rafa. I’m not having a chance to play every day these big guys. I want to enjoy this moment. So I tried to continue.

“I felt a little bit better after I started to run better, move better on the court, to play better shots. I had some chances. I used it in the second set.

“The third set, very important game was the first game in the third set. He was 40-Love up. I broke him. After that I guess he was not feeling the best. He probably felt the way I felt in the first set. Unfortunately he retired.

“But anyway, that was a big moment for me, that at least I could play with Rafa, and in the end, not the way I wanted, but I won.”
As for the biggest win of his career, although by retirement, the 94- ranked Dzumhur said:” I tried to keep the celebration in me because I didn’t want anybody to see that I’m celebrating when somebody retired.

“But inside of me I felt really proud after everything. I think all the fighting that I had through all the years back and today that I didn’t want to retire and I wanted to fight, that paid off.”

In addition to the No. 5 seed losing, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka also lost. He fell to Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-3.

 

Serena Williams Photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Serena Williams Photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

On the women’s side, eight-time champion Serena Williams beat the heat and won her 20th straight match at the Miami Open to reach the round of 16 beating Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3.

“For me the biggest adjustment I have to make is I usually never use a towel,” Williams said. “Here I might have to go grab the towel in between points.

“That’s it. I’m from California, but I been living here for over 20 years. I love these conditions actually.
“It was definitely humid today,” said the world No. 1. Rafa (Nadal) played like an hour and a half, two hours before me, so that makes a huge difference.

“So I think that he was in the most intense part of the sun; whereas I was kind of at tail end of it. But I was fine.”

Williams will play two-time major champion and friend Svetlana Kuznetsova for a place in the final eight.

“It’s a great matchup,” Williams said. “She plays well and makes a lot of the great shots. She’s actually been playing well this year. She had a couple big wins and couple good tournaments.

“Yeah, I have my work cut out for me. We’ll see what happens.”
No. 2 Andy Murray advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. The Scot, a two-time champion had a bit of an issue with a ball used in play, which appeared to be one of the balls the women use in the tournament.

“It was just a women’s ball,” he said. “I saw it just before I was about to serve. It’s quite off putting because I just missed two balls long. I didn’t know if that was one of the balls I used in the last couple points. The women’s balls are very different to the men’s balls. They’re much quicker, smaller, livelier.

“Yeah, when you’re just about to serve at break point down, you know, you don’t want to be using a completely different ball.

“So I was just a bit frustrated with that because I didn’t know potentially if on of the points before I had used it or not.

“It’ll be a tough one,” Murray said of his third round match against former top ten Grigor Dimitrov. “He’s obviously a top-quality player. He had a good win today, a tough win, against Delbonis.

“We played here once before; I managed to win that one. I played a bunch of tough matches against him. I think the last one was in Cincinnati where he had a match point. Had a bunch of chances to win that one and I managed to turn it around.”

“I know I’ll need to play good tennis to beat him. You know, also be a little bit more disciplined than I was tonight.”

Other top seeds advancing were No. 6 Kei Nishikori, No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 12 Milos Raonic. No. 3 John Isner was an upset victim to U.S. countryman qualifier Tim Smyczek 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (5). Isner ended the match on a double-fault.

An upset on the women’s side saw No. 8 Petra Kvitova beaten by No. 30 Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-4.

RESULTS – MARCH 26, 2016
Women’s
Singles – Third Round

[1] S. Williams (USA) d Z. Diyas (KAZ) 75 63
[3] A. Radwanska (POL) d M. Brengle (USA) 63 62
[5] S. Halep (ROU) d J. Goerges (GER) 64 61
[30] E. Makarova (RUS) d [8] P. Kvitova (CZE) 64 64
[12] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [23] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 57 64 76(1)
[15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d C. Garcia (FRA) 46 62 76(6)
[19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d [16] A. Ivanovic (SRB) 75 64
[WC] H. Watson (GBR) d Y. Wickmayer (BEL) 36 75 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

E. Makarova (RUS) / B. Strycova (CZE) d [2] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) 76(2) 64
[3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d [WC] M. Keys (USA) / S. Stephens (USA) 64 62
K. Bondarenko (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) d [6] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) 63 67(6) 10-5
M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [WC] M. Puig (PUR) / H. Watson (GBR) 61 26 10-5
S. Errani (ITA) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [Alt] B. Bencic (SUI) / S. Vogt (LIE) 61 62
D. Kasatkina (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) d C. Chuang (TPE) / C. Liang (CHN) 62 63

Men’s Singles – Second Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d D. Istomin (UZB) 63 75
An. Kuznetsov (RUS) d [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 64 63
D. Dzumhur (BIH) d [5] R. Nadal (ESP) 26 64 30 ret. (illness)
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [Q] P. Herbert (FRA) 62 76(4)
[9] J. Tsonga (FRA) d S. Giraldo (COL) 63 61
[12] M. Raonic (CAN) d D. Kudla (USA) 76(4) 64
[Q] T. Smyczek (USA) d [13] J. Isner (USA) 62 26 76(5)
[16] G. Monfils (FRA) d [Q] T. Ito (JPN) 63 62
[17] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d A. Bedene (GBR) 75 22 ret. (right wrist)
[22] J. Sock (USA) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 62 32 ret. (back)
[23] P. Cuevas (URU) d J. Millman (AUS) 75 64
[24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d M. Baghdatis (CYP) 62 61
[26] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d F. Delbonis (ARG) 76(8) 46 64
[27] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d A. Seppi (ITA) 64 64
A. Mannarino (FRA) d [29] S. Querrey (USA) 67(5) 62 64
[Q] M. Kukushkin (KAZ) d [30] T. Bellucci (BRA) 57 63 00 ret. (dehydration)

Doubles – Second Round
J. Isner (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) d R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) w/o (Nadal – illness)

Doubles – First Round
J. Chardy (FRA) / F. Martin (FRA) d [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 76(7) 76(4)
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) 36 63 10-7
[4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d I. Cervantes (ESP) / D. Ferrer (ESP) 63 75
[WC] O. Jasika (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS) d [7] E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 61 57 12-10
A. Qureshi (PAK) / G. Simon (FRA) d D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE) 64 75
D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) d [Alt] L. Mayer (ARG) / J. Sousa (POR) 75 64
P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) d [Alt] T. Bellucci (BRA) / A. Sa (BRA) 64 62
[PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) d H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) 46 63 12-10

ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2016
STADIUM start 11:00 am
ATP – [31] S. Johnson (USA) vs [7] T. Berdych (CZE)

Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [13] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs [Q] M. Linette (POL)
WTA – [22] M. Keys (USA) vs [9] R. Vinci (ITA)
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [33] J. Sousa (POR)

Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – [WC] N. Gibbs (USA) vs [4] G. Muguruza (ESP)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – L. Pouille (FRA) vs [8] D. Ferrer (ESP)

GRANDSTAND start 10:50 am
WTA – [Q] K. Bertens (NED) vs [2] A. Kerber (GER)
ATP – [LL] H. Zeballos (ARG) vs F. Verdasco (ESP)
ATP – [10] R. Gasquet (FRA) vs [20] B. Paire (FRA)
ATP – [11] M. Cilic (CRO) vs [18] G. Simon (FRA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – J. Chardy (FRA) / F. Martin (FRA) vs F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

COURT 1 start 10:55 am
ATP – [Q] Y. Nishioka (JPN) vs [14] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [19] V. Troicki (SRB) vs [15] D. Goffin (BEL)
WTA – C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [32] M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – [24] J. Konta (GBR) vs [Q] E. Vesnina (RUS)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – [WC] N. Osaka (JPN) vs T. Babos (HUN)
ATP – T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
WTA – [Q] Kr. Pliskova (CZE) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP – P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT)

COURT 7 start 11:00 am
WTA – V. King (USA) / A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) vs [PR] A. Rodionova (AUS) / G. Voskoboeva (KAZ)
WTA – [8] Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) vs A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)
WTA – [PR] S. Hsieh (TPE) / S. Peng (CHN) vs E. Makarova (RUS) / B. Strycova (CZE)
WTA – [5] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs S. Errani (ITA) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
WTA – A. Rosolska (POL) / L. Siegemund (GER) vs K. Bondarenko (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR)

 

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No. 53 Federico Delbonis Surprises No. 2 Andy Murray in Third Round of BNP Paribas Open

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(March 14, 2016)  INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 2 Andy Murray lost to No. 53 Federico Delbonis 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday in a two-hours and 46 minutes.

The southpaw from Argentina trailed 1-4 to the Brit in the third set, won five of the next six games to serve for the match at 6-5. Murray broke Delbonis’ serve to get to a tiebreak which Delbonis won 7-3 to get the biggest victory of his career. Murray’s loss is the biggest upset of the men’s tournament so far.

“Obviously a tough one to lose in the end, having, you know, kind of fought hard to get myself in a winning position you know, 4-1-up,” Murray said.

“The 4-2 game that I got broken was a tough one in the third set. I was up 30-Love in the game and had a few volleys in that game. You know, he came out with some good passing shots. I could have done a bit more with the volleys maybe.

“But, yeah, I didn’t play a great tiebreak. That was disappointing. Obviously he had the chance to serve it out, and then I got back in there and didn’t play a great breaker.”

Murray has not had a great history at Indian Wells, with his best result coming in 2009 when reached the final. “I think it’s just the conditions here I have just struggled with throughout my career. I have never really felt that I played my best tennis here.

“I have tried and had many different preparations where I’ve got here early and spent a lot of time on the courts, and sometimes I arrive later, like this time from Davis Cup. You know, obviously it takes time to get used to new conditions regardless of where it is, but I have just never really found a way to get comfortable here throughout my career.

“It’s a shame.”

 

Asked if this was his biggest win, Delbonis said: “No, I have like a couple of big wins, but in situation was special, you know. For that tournament, for that surface, for me is the best win.

“And, well, I have — I was like quiet all the match that I know he wants to be aggressive in that third set. I don’t do it my job until the 4-1. I have to play it more to his forehand.

“That, when I do that, I can break. I can play from the 4-2 to the tiebreak and I get a big win for that, you know.

“I have another one (win). The title in Sao Paulo I think is the best one.”

Delbonis did beat Roger Federer when he was No. 5 in the world three years ago in Hamburg.

Asked about his strategy to hit to Murray’s forehand, the Argentine commented: I know that his backhand is pretty good when he’s quiet, you know, in one side. I know that I have to play, hit harder in his forehand to get a good hit or a good position the court, to be aggressive or to move it to him, because this is one of the keys to get a good point.”

“I feel good the surface because it’s not too fast,” he said. “For me, I can slice in that kind of court. I like it. Also, I like it in Australia. Every tournament I come this year I like it so much. I like to play in that kind of court, in that hard courts not so fast.

“For me it’s a good court to be aggressive.”

For Murray, this is the first tournament he has played as a father. February 7, his wife Kim gave birth to a baby girl named Sophia.

A couple of surprises on the women’s side of the draw included former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, seeded 14 lost to 18th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-0 and No. 7 Belinda Bencic was on the short end of a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 score to unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova. With all of the upsets on the women’s side, No. 9 seed Roberta Vinci, who beat 17th seed Elina Svitolina, remains the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw.

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet won 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Alexandr Dolgopolov. No. 12 seed Milos Raonic advanced when 17th seed Bernard Tomic retired with a right wrist injury down. 6-2, 3-0. Tomic’s injury puts a question mark on his participation at the Miami Open.

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BNP Paribas Open Photo Gallery from Saturday, March 12, 2016

(March 12, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Photo gallery from around the grounds of the BNP Paribas Open. All photos by Curt Janka.

 

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Murray, Wawrinka and Berdych Lead Seeded Men into Third Round

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(March 12, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Whereas the women’s seeds keep falling, the men up until Saturday have had fewer upset victims at the BNP Paribas Open. No. 2 Andy Murray of Scotland beat Marcel Granollers 6-4, 7-6 (3). The Scot talked about the windy conditions on court.

“It was tough because obviously the ball travels through the air pretty quick here. And then it was very windy, so blowing from — so the end we walk on to the court from you were playing into the wind. It’s such a huge contrast from one end to the other because of how the air is here.

“So when you’re playing with the wind it’s really flying on you and you feel like if you barely touch the ball it’s flying a lot. Then from the other side, you know, it’s completely opposite. You really need to give the ball a big, big hit to get it deep.

“And, yeah, much different conditions to what I have obviously been practicing and playing in in the last five weeks against a, you know, tough sort of unorthodox player. He’s got quite a different game. He’s very smart player, as well, intelligent player, and often makes the right decisions. Yeah, made it tough for me.”

Stan Wawrinka had a straight forward 6-3, 6-2 victory over Illya Marchenko.

Juan Martin Del Potro

Juan Martin Del Potro

No. 6 Tomas Berdych faced off against wildcard, former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6 (4), 6-2. Del Potro had been sidelined until last month with a third wrist surgery.

The Argentine said he’s making progress.

“But I think this will be my first match against a top-10 player was okay,” he said. “I played a great first set. I had my opportunities to win that set and I miss it.

“I think of course I’m sad for my lose, but I’m in a good way to get better in the future. It’s not easy play against Tomas. Even if I’m 100%, he’s a great player. He plays so aggressive all the time, and I had to run a lot today.

“But I think the positive thing is I’m in a good way to improve my game.”
.

Other men’s seeds advancing included No. 8 Richard Gasquet, No. 12 Milos Raonic and No. 13 Gael Monfils.

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios

The biggest upset on the men’s side was No. 24 Nick Kyrgios beaten by Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 7-6 (4), 7-5.

Kyrgios did not play Australia’s Davis Cup tie against the United States due to a virus, but he would not blame his loss on his illness.

“I’m not going to take anything away from Ramos. Every time I have played him it’s been a tough match.

“Matchup-wise I think it’s great for me, but he always goes out there and competes. I thought that these conditions probably suit him. He likes to rip his forehand a little bit.

“But, you know, I’m nowhere near where I was. I was feeling great in Marseilles and the start of Dubai, but obviously the year hasn’t been great. I have had a lot of travel. Trying to get better. I was trying to force practice sessions here, trying to push, but body wasn’t letting me do it.”

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BNP Paribas Open Photo Gallery from Friday, March 11, 2016

(March 11, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Photo gallery from around the grounds of the BNP Paribas Open. All photos by Curt Janka.

 

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Novak Djokovic Wins 6th Australian Open Title for 11th Major Title

(January 31, 2016) Novak Djokovic captured his sixth Australian Open title on Saturday night defeating No. 2 Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3) in 2 hours and 53 minutes. For Djokovic this is his 11th major title placing him in a tie for fifth place on the all-time list with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver. His sixth title in Melbourne equals Roy Emerson’s record.

Djokovic is a perfect 6-0 in Australian Open finals, while Murray is now 0-5, four of them to No. 1 Djokovic.

Djokovic has now captured the last three major titles, going back to Wimbledon, and four of the last five.

“I don’t take anything for granted, even though I won last four out of five Grand Slams, played five finals, it’s phenomenal,” said Djokovic. “No doubt that I’m playing the best tennis of my life in the last 15 months.”

“The fact that I managed to make history tonight and equal Roy Emerson’s six Australian Open titles. Very honored to be mentioned alongside legends of our sport by Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, win as many Grand Slams as they did.

“You know, I can’t lie and say I didn’t think about it. Of course it was in back of my mind. Coming into the court I knew that I have a chance to make the history. Of course it served as a great motivation, as a great imperative to play my best.

“I tried not to think about it too much, but it was there as an encouragement, as a positive feedback, and a goal.”

As for the runner-up Murray, his next challenge will be fatherhood. The Scot’s wife is expecting their first child in the next two weeks, so he was on his way back home after the festivities.

During the trophy presentation he tearfully addressed his wife Kim: “You’ve been a legend the last two weeks. Thank you so much for all your support. “I’ll be on the next flight home.”

“I’m proud I got into this position – just quite looking forward to get home now.”

“I saw some of the stats just at the end of the match,” Murray said. “He won 25 more points than me, 26 more points. I had 25 or 26 more unforced errors.

“You know, I think I didn’t hit my forehand particularly well at the beginning of the match. I started to hit it better in the third set. But, yeah, that was it.”

Djokovic’s next mountain to climb is to win the French Open, the only major he has never captured.

“Very hungry” (to win Roland Garros). But wolf needs to eat a lot of different meals to get to Paris. Paris is a dessert.”

 

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