Tag Archives: marches

Andy Murray beats Lukas Lacko in Japan Open second round

Murray marches on as Scot sweeps Lacko aside to reach third round of Japan Open

|

UPDATED:

11:00 GMT, 3 October 2012

Andy Murray dropped only three games as he brushed aside Lukas Lacko in less than an hour in the second round of the Japan Open.

The British No 1, top seed for the tournament in Tokyo, built on his opening straight-sets win over Ivo Karlovic with another convincing performance.

Murray had spoken to this morning's Independent about the improvement in his general play and mindset since winning his first grand slam at this summer's US Open, his last tournament prior to this week.

Still winning: Andy Murray is through to the third round of the Japan Open after beating Lukas Lacko

Still winning: Andy Murray is through to the third round of the Japan Open after beating Lukas Lacko

He said: 'Because winning a slam was
so important to me I felt sometimes that I was focusing on the next slam
rather than on every tournament and every match.

'Now I feel I can hopefully concentrate better throughout the year and not take my eye off the ball at any tournaments.'

That was in evidence as he broke to
love in each of Lacko's first two service games to race into a 5-0 lead
in less than 20 minutes.

The Slovakian staved off a love set
at the last opportunity and made Murray work hard to serve out the set,
but the Scot came through 6-1 in 25 minutes.

Another break in the third game of
the second set put him further in control and one more was to follow,
Murray taking all four of his break points as he wrapped up a 6-1, 6-2
win.

Euro 2012: Maria Sharapova knocked out by Sabine Lisicki

It's all over for Sharapova as ice maiden melts thanks to slick Lisicki heat

|

UPDATED:

14:42 GMT, 2 July 2012

Top seed Maria Sharapova crashed out of Wimbledon on Monday when she was emphatically beaten by big-hitting Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round.

The French Open champion had looked to be in ominous form, but amid damp scenes on Court One, where at one stage play was suspended for over 30 minutes, she was unable to scale the heights that saw her beat the same opponent at the semi-final stage last year.

Sharapova's serve was broken three times in a chaotic first set and crucially once early in the second, with 15th-seeded German Lisicki taking the match 6-4 6-3 – the same score by which she lost to Sharapova 12 months ago.

More to follow.

Going home: Maria Sharapova has been knocked out

Going home: Maria Sharapova has been knocked out

Victory: Sabine Lisicki marches on

Victory: Sabine Lisicki marches on

French Open 2012: Li Na beaten by world No 142

Paris shocker! Champion Na crashes out to world No 142… but Sharapova marches on

|

UPDATED:

15:38 GMT, 4 June 2012

Defending champion Li Na suffered the shock of the tournament after she was sent crashing out of the French Open in the fourth round.

The Chinese player was beaten 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, by world No 142 Yaroslava Shvedova.

Li, who defeated Francesca Schiavone in the final last year, looked to be in control of the match in the opening set but the cool and windy conditions did not help her and she succumbed to the greater consistency of Shvedova.

Shock: Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova beat defending champion Li Na

Shock: Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova beat defending champion Li Na

The Kazakh was a quarter-finalist here two years ago, which helped her to climb inside the top 30 in the rankings, but a knee injury and poor form last year saw her tumble to as low as 257 in the world.

Shvedova next faces either Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or American Varvara Lepchenko, while Li's defeat means no former champions are left in the women's draw.

Down and out: Na sturggled to deal with the opponent and the conditions

Down and out: Na struggled to deal with the opponent and the conditions

Down and out: Na struggled to deal with the opponent and the conditions

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova battled her way into the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, victory over Klara Zakopalova in a match that featured an astonishing 21 breaks of serve.

The Russian had breezed through her first three matches, dropping only five games, but the conditions today – cold, windy and damp – were a real challenge.

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova

Sharapova's serve has been her main
weakness since her shoulder problems of 2008 but, initially at least, it
seemed to be holding up pretty well in the circumstances.

The second seed always had the edge in the opening set but Zakopalova fought hard, pulling back from 5-2 to 5-4 before Sharapova finally clinched it.

The pair had met three times before, with the Czech player's only win coming back in 2003 when Sharapova was 15, but she did compete well when they faced each other in Madrid last month.

Sharapova again took an early lead in the second set but once more Zakopalova, looking to reach her first grand slam quarter-final, fought back.

Both players were finding it increasingly difficult to hold their serve and, although Sharapova served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5, it seemed inevitable there would be more breaks.

And so it proved, sending the set into a tie-break, and this time it was Zakopalova who had the edge, taking it on her third set point when Sharapova blazed a return wide.

Taking a tumble: Sharapova didn't have it easy against Klara Zakopalova

Taking a tumble: Sharapova didn't have it easy against Klara Zakopalova

The Russian seemed to be having problems with her right wrist but that did not stop her winning the first three games of the decider.

It continued to be a struggle, though, with Sharapova, who next faces either Arantxa Rus or Kaia Kanepi, eventually prevailing after three hours and 11 minutes, perhaps appropriately on a double fault.

The second seed is looking for her first title at Roland Garros to complete her set of grand slams, while reaching the final would see her overtake Victoria Azarenka as world No 1.

Andy Murray beats Viktor Troicki in Monte Carlo

Murray marches on in Monte Carlo as Brit brushes Troicki aside to reach round three

|

UPDATED:

12:13 GMT, 17 April 2012

Andy Murray made a flying start to his clay-court season with a straight-sets dismissal of Serbia's Viktor Troicki at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The world No 4 needed just 67 minutes to settle a one-sided second-round encounter, running out a 6-0, 6-3 winner to set up a meeting with either Julien Benneteau or Jurgen Melzer in the next round.

Murray, who enjoyed his best ever clay season last year, looked confident as he entered Court Central wearing a pair of blue headphones over his newly-shaved head, and his early play reflected his demeanour as he raced to the first set in just 27 minutes.

Stretch: Andy Murray has to work to fire a backhand at Viktor Troicki on his way to victory

Stretch: Andy Murray has to work to fire a backhand at Viktor Troicki on his way to victory

'It was a good start,' Murray told Sky Sports 2. 'Normally it's taken a few matches to get used to the clay but today I thought I moved well from the start and that is important.

'I felt comfortable and I used a lot of variety in my shots. Confidence is a big thing in tennis and I came in today feeling a lot more comfortable.

'It's a different type of game on the clay. You have to have a lot of patience. Sometimes you need to play three or four great shots to win points.'

No worries: Murray was too good for Serbia's Troicki in Monte Carlo

No worries: Murray was too good for Serbia's Troicki in Monte Carlo

Great shots were much in evidence in a stunning first-set performance by the Scot, who broke Troicki's opening service game.

A deft drop shot at the net after a period of intense defensive work secured a second break and a 3-0 lead.

Murray completed a sequence of 14 points without reply to go 40-0 up on Troicki's serve while leading 4-0, and although the Serbian recovered to deuce, Murray regrouped to break again before serving out.

Short and sweet: Troicki did not last long against Murray

Short and sweet: Troicki did not last long against Murray

A much-improved Troicki finally got on the board as he held at the start of the second set.

Murray did likewise in the next and normal service was resumed in the third when Murray broke again.

Troicki held the rest of the way to 3-4, but when Murray moved to the brink and 3-5 the cracks appeared again for the world number 30 and another break got Murray over the line.

Sir Alex Ferguson stands up for Steve Kean

You're not so Kean to criticise now! Fergie salutes Blackburn revival

|

UPDATED:

15:01 GMT, 29 March 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Blackburn's fans must be regretting their vitriolic attacks on manager Steve Kean.

The Rovers manager has come in for some fearful stick at times this season.

David Moyes walked out of a pre-Christmas encounter with Bolton so disgusted was he at the treatment being meted out to his fellow Scot.

At that point, Kean's departure seemed inevitable.

Amazingly though, he not only stayed but prospered.

Protest: Blackburn fans were calling for Steve Kean's head earlier in the seasonProtest: Blackburn fans were calling for Steve Kean's head earlier in the season

Protest: Blackburn fans were calling for Steve Kean's head earlier in the season

Not even the loss of skipper Christopher Samba has halted recent progress and of the five teams who have been sucked into the relegation scrap, Blackburn look most likely to survive.

'I am sure a lot of them are saying to themselves “I wish I hadn't done that”,' said Ferguson of the Blackburn fans.

'Things can change. You have to dig in and not let it get to you.

'Now no-one is talking about fans having protest marches.

'He has held his dignity very well and deserves 100 per cent praise from everyone, including his own supporters.

'He has shown his mettle in times when it was difficult for him.'

Improvement came immediately after that Bolton debacle, when Rovers followed up a draw at Liverpool by beating United at Old Trafford.

Transformation: Kean celebrates the Old Trafford win with his players

Transformation: Kean celebrates the Old Trafford win with his players

It was one of the most remarkable results in a season littered with staggering scorelines and is part of an impressive overall Blackburn record against United.

Indeed, United make the short journey up the M61 on Monday looking to improve a woeful return of just two wins on their last 11 visits, even if the latest failure was a triumphant one as Wayne Rooney's penalty in May earned the point that clinched a record 19th title.

Nevertheless, it is a strange statistic and one that contrasts sharply with their return against other derby foes, Wigan and Bolton.

'I couldn't answer why,' said Ferguson.

'When Blackburn score first they make it difficult for you, so maybe the answer is to make sure we keep our noses in front.'

In theory, United's chances of victory are assisted by having a clear week to prepare.

Time to prepare: United will have had a week without a fixture

Time to prepare: United will have had a week without a fixture

Other than the Easter programme it will be that way for the remainder of the campaign now all interest in cup competitions has come to an end.

But Ferguson does not feel comfortable with that.

Having watched Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich claim Champions League wins in midweek and a fascinating duel between Barcelona and AC Milan, he knows what he would prefer.

'We have been used to playing midweek games for so long that you do miss it,' said the United boss.

'The players miss it too. Yes, we do get freshness but you can't have it all ways. We would rather be in the Champions League.'

Ferguson has confirmed he will be selecting from the same squad that contested the nervy win over Fulham as Rio Ferdinand has recovered from the back problem that triggered his early exit and Nani is still to return to training after missing four games with an ankle injury.

The aftermath of that 1-0 win has centred around the failure of referee Michael Oliver to award a penalty for Michael Carrick's clumsy last-minute challenge on Danny Murphy.

Penalty shout: Murphy is tripped by Carrick

Penalty shout: Murphy is tripped by Carrick

Patrick Vieira has tried to limit the fall-out from his controversial accusation on Wednesday that United benefited from major decisions.

Ferguson seemed to take that into account with his measured response, which contrasted sharply to the blistering volley of last week after Vieira's initial claim that Paul Scholes' abandoned retirement smacked of desperation.

'From the referee's position, I can see why he didn't give a penalty when Danny Murphy was brought down,' said the Scot.

'The ball moved to the angle as Michael Carrick challenged him. From that position, it wasn't clear.

'It was a good claim but you could go through millions of things like that. City could have had a penalty against them at Stoke for a foul by Gareth Barry.

'Every club gets breaks here and there, you get good ones and bad ones.

'It evens itself out over the season, that will never change.'

Andy Murray reaches Dubai Duty Free Championships semi-finals

Murray marches on in Dubai as Scot sees off Berdych to reach semi-finals

Andy Murray ended a three-match losing streak against Tomas Berdych to reach the semi-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Championships for the first time.

It has not been a happy hunting ground for the world No 4 in the past but he made a flying start and then survived a topsy-turvy second set to triumph 6-3 7-5.

Murray, who is likely to face world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the last four, had played two qualifiers in the first two rounds but this was a real test, with the 24-year-old's only previous victory against Berdych coming back in 2005.

Dazzling in Dubai: Andy Murray is through to the semi-finals

Dazzling in Dubai: Andy Murray is through to the semi-finals

The fast surface also appeared to be in the Czech's favour but he could not find his range in the early stages and Murray reeled off the first seven points.

Berdych saved two break points but not the third, and the British number one then found some big serves just when he needed them to save three break points and move 3-0 ahead.

Berdych had certainly settled down now and forced another break point with Murray serving for the set but the Scot again held firm to come through.

Czech out: Tomas Berdych's Dubai dream is over after losing to Murray

Czech out: Tomas Berdych's Dubai dream is over after losing to Murray

Murray had struggled to threaten on the Berdych serve after the early break but he made the perfect start to the second set by seizing on another break-point opportunity when a forehand proved too hot for his opponent.

But this time the third seed's advantage was short-lived as more Berdych pressure drew a double-fault out of Murray to level the score at 2-2.

Murray was soon back in front, taking advantage of a sloppy game from the fifth seed to move ahead again immediately, but then showed his frustration after an error-strewn game made it three breaks in a row.

Reason to be cheerful: Murray looks pleased with himself against Berdych

Reason to be cheerful: Murray looks pleased with himself against Berdych

Murray appeared to be struggling with pain in his right knee – he was born with a bipartite patella and has been troubled by it throughout his career – but he found himself serving for the match after yet another break in the 11th game.

Incredible scrambling from Murray had pushed Berdych into another error, but after moving to 40-0 three poor backhands saw three match points go begging.

He then had to save a break point, with Berdych furious when Murray was awarded the point after a successful HawkEye challenge, before finally wrapping up victory on his seventh chance.

Blackburn fans plan protest as Venky"s defend Samba sale

Blackburn fans plan protest as Venky's defend Samba sale

A major new protest is to be staged by
Blackburn fans against the club's hierarchy ahead of Saturday's
Barclays Premier League home match against Aston Villa.

A section of Rovers supporters called
BRFC Action Group have released a statement outlining plans for three
marches that will set off simultaneously around an hour before the 3pm
kick-off and then join together at Ewood Park – described as 'the
largest and most attended demonstration in the history of our club.'

Angry: Blackburns fans will stage protest

Angry: Blackburns fans will stage protest

Throughout the season – during which the team have struggled near the bottom of the league table – Blackburn's owners, Indian-based poultry and pharmaceutical firm Venky's, have been the target of protests and manager Steve Kean has endured calls for him to be sacked.

Rovers fans have launched a new share investment scheme in a bid to buy the club from the current owners and today's statement said the marches this weekend would 'symbolise a vote of “no confidence” in Venky's…and will carry the message “Venky's sell the club”.'

Meanwhile, Venky's have dismissed reports
they are set to sell more key players following defender Christopher
Samba's move last week to Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.

Sold: Defender Chris Samba

Sold: Defender Chris Samba

'There are no plans like that there, that is ridiculous,' said Venky's representative and Blackburn director Vineeth Rao, quoted in the Lancashire Telegraph.

'There are no plans to sell any more key players, why would there be Our immediate focus is on staying up in the Premier League.

'We hope Chris Samba will be the last key departure. There are no plans to sell any more key players because we want to improve the squad.'

Samba, who joined Blackburn in 2007 and had become their captain, handed in a transfer request last month.

It was initially rejected, but he eventually signed for Anzhi on Friday, having not played for Rovers since January 2.

Kean has said the 27-year-old Congo international's desire to leave played a big part in the deal, and Rao insists Venky's had wanted Samba to stay.

'It was not even our intention to sell Chris Samba,' Rao said. 'We did not want to sell him.

'We wanted him on the pitch because he has been a big player but in the end we had to respect his wishes because he wanted to leave.'

Australian Open 2012: Maria Sharapova beats Sabine Lisicki

Maria marches on Down Under as Russian battles past Lisicki into the last eight

Maria Sharapova needed all her experience to overcome a determined Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, to advance to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The fourth-seeded Russian won the opening three games but suddenly lost her mojo as the German reeled off the next six to seize the first set and, seemingly, all the momentum.

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova battled in the Australian Open quarter-finals

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova battled in the Australian Open quarter-finals

But Sharapova fought back in the second set and then scrapped tooth and nail in the third game of the third to hold serve before she broke 14th seed Lisicki in the sixth, which ultimately set up her victory.

Sharapova will next meet countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova after the world No 56 caused the upset of the tournament by thrashing five-times champion Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3.