Mur­ray re­mains on course to de­fend ti­tle

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LON­DON: De­fend­ing cham­pion Andy Mur­ray out­classed Ger­man mav­er­ick Dustin Brown 6-3 6-2 6-2 in an en­ter­tain­ing match of ex­hi­bi­tion style points yes­ter­day, over­com­ing a po­ten­tially tricky op­po­nent with a rep­u­ta­tion for gi­ant-killing.

Brown, ranked 97th in the world, beat two-time cham­pion Rafa Nadal in the sec­ond round in 2015 and set out his fa­mil­iar game plan of baf­fling drop shots right from the start. But de­spite be­ing moved all round the court by a bar­rage from Brown, Mur­ray gave as good as he got – and bet­ter – play­ing the same shots with more ac­cu­racy and con­trol.

Mur­ray only rarely showed signs of the sore hip that has been trou­bling him and he came through an easy win­ner.

“He started very well and was com­ing up with great drop vol­leys and re­ally go­ing for the returns,” the world num­ber one said.

“Once I got the break in the first set, I felt the mo­men­tum was with me, I was start­ing to see the shots he was go­ing to play a lit­tle bit quicker and that al­lowed me to get to some of the drop vol­leys and also come up with some good pass­ing shots.”

The top seed’s win was greeted by huge cheers from the home crowd who are hop­ing to see the 30-year-old two-time cham­pion be­come the first Bri­tish player to re­tain a grand slam ti­tle since Fred Perry in the 1930s.

“It has been a good start, hope­fully, keep it go­ing,” said Mur­ray, who plays Italy’s Fabio Fognini, seeded 28th, in round three.

Marin Cilic sur­vived a dif­fi­cult start to seal a spot in the Wimbledon third round af­ter bat­tling to a 7-6(2) 6-4 7-5 vic­tory over Ger­man Florian Mayer in un­re­lent­ing heat on Court Two.

It looked as though the beam­ing sun­light was im­ped­ing the 6ft 6ins (1.98m) sev­enth seed as his trusted serve im­me­di­ately de­serted him.

Mayer, ranked 114th in the world and with­out a vic­tory over a top-10 player in 12 grand slam matches, broke in the first game of the match, be­fore hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to serve for the first set.

How­ever, Cilic broke back, and found his high-pow­ered ser­vice game at the piv­otal mo­ment, ham­mer­ing three aces to help edge the first-set tiebreak.

The 2014 U.S. Open cham­pion, who came into Wimbledon in good form hav­ing reached the fi­nal at Queen’s Club, fired four big win­ners to break in the ninth game of the sec­ond set be­fore serv­ing out the set.

Mayer did not give up with­out a fight, how­ever, as he again broke the Cilic serve to lead 5-3 in the third, only to again floun­der at the cru­cial mo­ment, with Cilic storm­ing back to win five games in a row and clinch vic­tory with a trade­mark ace.

The Croa­t­ian will next face Amer­i­can Steve John­son or Moldovan

Venus Wil­liams con­tin­ued to fly the fam­ily flag in the ab­sence of her sis­ter and reign­ing Wimbledon cham­pion Ser­ena but suf­fered a scare against China’s 55th-ranked Qiang Wang in the sec­ond round on day.

The 37-year-old Amer­i­can, bid­ding for a sixth Wimbledon ti­tle, made a slow start but hit back to win 4-6 6-4 6-1 on a warm and sul­try Court One.

Her op­po­nent, play­ing only her fourth sin­gles match at Wimbledon com­pared to the 97 con­tested by Wil­liams, was threat­en­ing a shock when she had break points at 3-3 in the sec­ond set against the mis­fir­ing 10th seed.

But Wil­liams used her ex­pe­ri­ence to steady the ship and lev­elled the match with a back­hand pass be­fore run­ning away with the de­cider to book a third-round match against Ja­pan’s Naomi Osaka.

Wil­liams, one of only two former cham­pi­ons in the women’s draw, came to Wimbledon un­der a cloud af­ter be­ing in­volved in a road traf­fic ac­ci­dent last month in Florida which re­sulted in the death of a 78-year-old man.

Her sis­ter Ser­ena, who she lost to in this year’s Aus­tralian Open fi­nal, is ab­sent be­cause she is ex­pect­ing a baby.

Mean­while new mum Vic­to­ria Azarenka wants to see more child­friendly tour­na­ments on the WTA Tour, say­ing not enough is done to help play­ers trav­el­ling with young fam­i­lies.

The former world num­ber one re­turned to ac­tion last month af­ter giv­ing birth to son Leo in De­cem­ber and will soon be joined on the Tour by mum-to-be Ser­ena Wil­liams.

“I hope that’s the case. I have been al­ready talk­ing about this point to some of the peo­ple in the WTA,” Azarenka said af­ter reach­ing the third round at Wimbledon with a straight sets de­feat of 15th seed Elena Ves­nina.

“From my own power, I’ll do any­thing to make that hap­pen, be­cause I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant. The guys do have that lux­ury of hav­ing the nurs­eries and stuff at ev­ery event, and I think it’s time for women to have the same ben­e­fit.

“For women, it’s much more im­por­tant and harder,” added the Be­laru­sian, who faces Bri­tain’s Heather Wat­son next.

Creches are not manda­tory fa­cil­i­ties on the WTA Tour, al­though all the grand slam events cater for play­ers trav­el­ling with young chil­dren and Wimbledon’s was up­graded in 2015.

Judy Mur­ray, mother of world num­ber one Andy, has also thrown her sup­port be­hind bet­ter child fa­cil­i­ties: “It’s not ev­ery player that has the money to em­ploy an en­tourage of nan­nies so it’s very im­por­tant.” she said. – Reuters

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