Tough loss, but Mur­ray prom­ises to bounce back

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

op­por­tu­nity?” he said. “I don’t know. I mean, ev­ery year you come is a dif­fer­ent chance. But you’ve got Roger (Fed­erer) plus three guys that are pretty much in the top 10 in the world in my half of the draw. There’s cer­tainly no guar­an­tees, even if I got through to­day’s match, that I would have gone fur­ther. “It’s dis­ap­point­ing to lose (but) I don’t feel like this is any more of an op­por­tu­nity than other years.” Mur­ray had ev­ery right to be con­fi­dent when he ar­rived at Melbourne Park as the top seed at a Grand Slam for the first time af­ter win­ning 28 of his pre­vi­ous 29 matches.

“I’m ob­vi­ously down about it,” said the Wim­ble­don and Olympic cham­pion. “It’s just ten­nis. I mean, I had great suc­cess for a num­ber of months. Ob­vi­ously in the biggest events you want to do your best. Ob­vi­ously that’s not been the case here. You know, it hap­pens.”

Mur­ray first came across Zverev when they were both ju­niors and had no rea­son to think the 50th ranked servevol­ley ex­po­nent would re­turn to end his run of con­sec­u­tive Melbourne Park quar­ter-fi­nal ap­pear­ances at eight.

Although Mur­ray paid full tribute to Zverev’s ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mance there was no es­cap­ing that his was the ear­li­est exit from the tour­na­ment for a top seed since Lley­ton He­witt in 2003.

“I’ve had tough losses in my ca­reer in the past. I’ve come back from them,” said Mur­ray. “This is a tough one. I’m sure I’ll come back from it. But right now I’m ob­vi­ously very down be­cause I wanted to go fur­ther in this event, and it wasn’t to be.

“Credit to him. He came up with great, great shots and played a re­ally, re­ally good match. You know, you al­ways fin­ish matches you lose with things you maybe could have done a bit bet­ter, but he played some re­ally good stuff.”

Top seed and reign­ing cham­pion An­gelique Ker­ber was also bun­dled out of the fourth round of the Aus­tralian Open by big-hit­ting Amer­i­can Coco Van­deweghe yes­ter­day, los­ing 6-2, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena. The 25-year-old New Yorker claimed a place in the quar­ter-fi­nals at Melbourne Park for the first time, blast­ing six aces and 30 win­ners to over­power Ker­ber.

“I guess I faked (hav­ing con­fi­dence) a lot be­cause I was feel­ing like crap out there,” said the Amer­i­can. “But, you know, fake it ‘til you make it’ .... my game plan was to ex­e­cute know­ing that she was go­ing to get a lot of balls back.”

Mean­while, Venus Wil­liams was not pre­pared to even coun­te­nance the sug­ges­tion she could po­ten­tially meet younger sis­ter Ser­ena in the fi­nal af­ter she ad­vanced to the quar­ter-fi­nals with a 6-3, 7-5 vic­tory over Mona Barthel.

The 13th-seeded Venus had some strug­gles against the Ger­man qual­i­fier but clinched the cru­cial points to ad­vance to a last eight clash with Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova.

Ser­ena is on the other side of the draw and faces Barbora Strycova in their fourth round clash to­day and has looked the most com­fort­able of the play­ers left in the tour­na­ment.

As such, a po­ten­tial ninth show­down in a Grand Slam fi­nal, and sec­ond at Melbourne Park, be­tween the Amer­i­can sis­ters could po­ten­tially be on the cards, though Venus sidestepped the ques­tion af­ter her vic­tory over Barthel.

“That could hope­fully hap­pen,” the 36-year-old said. “We both still have to work very hard to get there.”

Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga ended the fairy­tale run of Dan Evans to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals, beat­ing him 67 (7/4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. — Reuters .

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