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Great Britain to play Croatia away in Davis Cup World Group play-off

Great Britain face away trip to Croatia in Davis Cup play-off… and Murray will play!

By
Stuart Fraser

PUBLISHED:

10:16 GMT, 10 April 2013

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UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 10 April 2013

Great Britain have been drawn away to Croatia in September's Davis Cup World Group play-offs.

Leon Smith's team staged a stunning comeback to beat Russia 3-2 on Sunday in Coventry and earn a chance to gain promotion to the elite 16-team World Group for the first time since 2008.

Heroes: Britain beat Russia to clinch a place in September's World Group play-offs

Heroes: Britain beat Russia to clinch a place in September's World Group play-offs

World No 2 Andy Murray has already committed to play in the tie which will be held on the weekend following the conclusion of the US Open on 13-15 September.

Murray last played in September 2011 in a 5-0 win over Hungary and has opted out of each tie since, preferring to focus on his grand slam preparations.

Return: Murray (centre) has already committed to play in September's tie

Return: Murray (centre) has already committed to play in September's tie

James Ward and Dan Evans, the heroes
on Sunday as they won both their matches to clinch the win over Russia,
will likely battle it out for the second singles spot.

Croatia's team is likely to include world No 11 Marin Cilic, who Murray beat on his way to winning the Sony Open in Miami last month, and Ivan Dodig, ranked No 54.

The hosts have until April 30 to choose a venue and surface for the tie.

Leader: World No 11 Cilic will likely lead Croatia's team against Great Britain

Leader: World No 11 Cilic will likely lead Croatia's team against Great Britain

It will be Britain's first tie away from home since Smith, Murray's former coach, took over as captain from John Lloyd in 2010.

Smith has won six of his seven ties in charge and should be confident of promotion to the World Group, having avoided Spain and Switzerland in the draw.

Coach: Smith (left) was Murray's (right) coach when the world No 2 was in his teenage years

Coach: Smith (left) was Murray's (right) coach when the world No 2 was in his teenage years

Britain last played Croatia in the World Group play-offs in September 2007, winning 4-1 at Wimbledon.

Murray beat Cilic in five sets in the opening match, before Tim Henman – in his last match before retirement – clinched the tie by teaming up with Murray's brother Jamie in the doubles to beat Cilic and Lovro Zovko.

Handshakes: Cilic (right) played against Britain in 2007 in what was Tim Henman's (left) last match

Handshakes: Cilic (right) played against Britain in 2007 in what was Tim Henman's (left) last match

Andy Murray beats Andreas Seppi in Sony Open in Miami

Murray in the box seat after rival Djokovic suffers shock defeat by Haas in Miami

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 26 March 2013

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UPDATED:

08:15 GMT, 27 March 2013

Two-time defending champion Novak
Djokovic suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Tommy Haas to leave
Andy Murray in the box seat at the Sony Open in Miami.

Veteran German Haas completely
outplayed the world No 1 for a 6-2 6-4 victory meaning Murray, who
earlier beat Andreas Seppi by the same scoreline, is the highest seed
left in the tournament going into the quarter-finals.

In control: Andy Murray was seldom stretched against the No 16 seed

In control: Andy Murray was seldom stretched against the No 16 seed

From 2-1 down in the first set, Haas
won seven straight games to got 6-2 2-0 up and, though Djokovic
eventually broke back to level, the 34-year-old held on for his first
victory against a world No 1 since 1999.

In
distinctly chilly conditions in the late match, there were hints of
what was to come as Haas held his first two service games to love.

Haas then sealed the first break of the match as Djokovic netted, and the Serbian handed him another with a poor shot at net.

Net result: Murray is in to the last eight in Miami

[caption

The 15th seed took the first set in less than half an hour, then kept on rolling with a break to open the second, in part thanks to a double fault from his opponent.

Djokovic saved break points in his next service game too, before holding to stop the rot, then pounced on some rare unforced errors from Haas to seal a break of his own and level at 3-3.

Haas broke again though at 4-4 and it proved decisive as he sealed the match at the second attempt with a forehand winner.

The German’s prize is a last-eight meeting with 11th seed Gilles Simon, who beat Janko Tipsarevic in three sets.

Murray breezed into the quarter-finals, where he will face Marin Cilic, after cruising past 16th seed Seppi.

Murray has yet to drop a set in this tournament and this did not seem likely to change today as he was rarely tested by his Italian opponent, whose sole break point opportunity came in the final game.

The Briton felt the windy conditions worked to his advantage.

'It was swirling a little bit at the start and he made more unforced errors than he usually does,” he told the Independent.

'I was able to track down a lot of his balls because he wasn’t timing his shots that well.

'But he started going for his shots more in the second set and made it tough for me.'

A
limp forehand into the net immediately gave Murray two break points in
the opening game and another unforced error from Seppi gave the world
number three the initiative.

To the exit: Novak Djokovic waves to the crowd as he leaves the court after losing to Tommy Haas

To the exit: Novak Djokovic waves to the crowd as he leaves the court after losing to Tommy Haas

Seppi,
who reached a career-high 18th in the world in January this year, won
just four points on Murray’s serve in the first set and was broken again
in the seventh game as the US Open champion put one foot into the next
round.

The second seed wasted three break point opportunities at the start of the second set before Seppi steadily settled.

The 29-year-old had a slight hope of getting back into the match when Murray found himself 4-3 and 0-30 down on his serve before storming back to level.

Big hit: Tommy Haas of Germany celebrates his win

Big hit: Tommy Haas of Germany celebrates his win

In the very next game, Murray earned his fourth break point opportunity of the set and he would not be denied this time as Seppi crashed a forehand into the net.

The Briton had a bit of a wobble serving out the match and although Seppi had an opportunity to break straight back, Murray sealed victory with his first match point, booking a meeting with ninth seed Cilic who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-6 (7/4).

There were also wins for the third
and fourth seeds, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, as well as Richard
Gasquet and Jurgen Melzer.

In
the women’s draw, Serena Williams matched Steffi Graf’s record for the
number of match wins in this tournament, a 6-3 7-6 (7/5) win over
Australian Open finalist Li Na in the quarter-finals seeing the American
claim her 59th victory in the Miami Masters.

'I’m excited,' said the five-time champion in her on-court interview. 'It’s just great.

'Every
day I play here is a surprise for me because I enjoy it so much. I
enjoy the great crowd and I’m just happy to still be here.'

Williams
will next face Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who produced an
astonishing shot in the second set to help her beat Belgium’s Kirsten
Flipkens 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Wrong-footed by a net cord, Radwanska spun more than 180 degrees and stuck out her racquet for an improvised volley winner, leaving her opponent staring in disbelief.

Pep Guardiola won"t manage Brazil, boost for Chelsea

Chelsea's hopes of landing Guardiola boosted as Brazil rule out foreign coach

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UPDATED:

23:58 GMT, 26 November 2012

The president of the Brazilian football federation says he is not likely to hire a foreign coach for the Brazil national team – leaving Pep Guardiola free to take over at Chelsea next summer.

Despite reports that former Barcelona coach Guardiola is a candidate for the job, federation president Jose Maria Marin said Monday that he prefers a local name to replace Mano Menezes, who was fired last week.

On a break: Pep Guardiola is taking a year out of football

On a break: Pep Guardiola is taking a year out of football

Marin said he respects Guardiola, but noted that 'all five world titles won by Brazil came with Brazilian coaches.'

He also said the next Brazil coach must have a 'winning profile' to lead that team at the 2014 World Cup that the nation will host.

Next up Luiz Felipe Scolari is in line for a return to the Brazil team

Next up Luiz Felipe Scolari is in line for a return to the Brazil team

One of the reported front-runners for the job is Luiz Felipe Scolari, who is unemployed and led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title.

Chelsea meanwhile are expected to replace interim boss Rafa Benitez with Guardiola at the end of the season.

Andy Murray loses to Jerzy Janowicz at Paris Masters

Murray knocked out after running into giant Pole at Paris Masters

PUBLISHED:

15:39 GMT, 1 November 2012

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 1 November 2012

Andy Murray wasted match point as he was dumped out in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open by towering Pole Jerzy Janowicz.

The Scot surrendered control of a match he was on the brink of winning in straight sets before being blown away in the decider by his 21-year-old 6ft 8in opponent.

The US Open champion served for the match at 5-4 in the second, but he was broken for the first time in the match and Janowicz, a qualifier, went on to win the set on a tie-break.

Heading home: Andy Murray is out of the Paris Masters after losing to Jerzy Janowicz

Heading home: Andy Murray is out of the Paris Masters after losing to Jerzy Janowicz

And the third seed was made to pay for his loss of composure as he fell two breaks down in the third, Janowicz taking the biggest scalp of his career with a 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 win in two hours 25 minutes.

The Scot's victory over Paul-Henri Mathieu on Wednesday was his first match since citing a back problem as the reason for pulling out on the eve of last week's event in Basle and the workout he got against Janowicz was too tough to cope with.

Murray will need to pick himself up in time for next week's season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, but Janowicz's joy at the end of the match was clear for all to see.

Emotional: Janowicz was overcome after beating Murray

Emotional: Janowicz was overcome after beating Murray

Murray had to bide his time in the opening set, the first break point not coming until the 11th game.
That was saved, but Murray took the next and then held serve to go one set in front.

He broke for a 4-3 lead in the second and had match point on serve, but Janowicz, who shocked 13th seed Marin Cilic in the previous round, showed plenty of spirit and rattled Murray by breaking back to level at 5-5.

And the Pole was far more aggressive in the tie-break and it paid off as he forced a decider.

Tall order: Janowicz battled back to reach the fourth round of the Paris Masters

Tall order: Janowicz battled back to reach the fourth round of the Paris Masters

The momentum was firmly with Janowicz and continued where he left off by breaking for a 2-1 and then a 4-1 lead before booking his place in the last eight.

Janowicz could not hide his utter elation at a famous victory.

'It's not easy for me to speak, I have a thousand different feelings in my heart,' he said on Sky Sports 1.

'This is an unbelievable week for me. I was already so happy after winning in the first round against (Philipp) Kohlschreiber, (beating) Cilic (was) unbelievable, I don't know what to say after this match. I still don't think this is happening.'

Never give up: Janowicz looked to be heading for an early exit until he blasted back at the Scot

Never give up: Janowicz looked to be heading for an early exit until he blasted back at the Scot

Janowicz has made huge strides in the past 10 months given he was playing Futures Tour events in Barnstaple at the start of the year.

'Since the beginning of the year I've had so many changes in my life,' he said. 'I've changed the racket which is helping me, a new fitness coach also, a lot of new changes and they've worked.

'Now I am playing my best tennis in my whole life and hope I am not finished.'

Move on: Murray will now turn his attention to the ATP Tour Finals

Move on: Murray will now turn his attention to the ATP Tour Finals

Shanghai Masters 2012: Andy Murray into semi-final after beating Radek Stepanek

Murray edges into Shanghai semis after battling three-set victory over Stepanek

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UPDATED:

10:53 GMT, 12 October 2012

Andy Murray overcame a shaky start to power into the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 victory over Radek Stepanek.

The US Open champion, who has an outside chance of finishing the year as world number one, will face either Roger Federer or Marin Cilic for a place in the final.

He was forced to overcome some worrying moments against Stepanek before hitting top gear to remain on course for a third successive Shanghai Masters title.

On the march: Murray is into the semi-final at Shanghai after seeing off Stepanek in three sets

On the march: Murray is into the semi-final at Shanghai after seeing off Stepanek in three sets

Murray was in trouble in the fifth
game, conceding three break points and finding the net on the third, and
never recovered as the confident Stepanek took the opening set with
ease.

Their fortunes reversed in a
hard-fought second set with Murray looking more comfortable and
capitalising on a double fault to break in the sixth.

Flying start: Stepanek took the first set but Murray battled back to edge through

Flying start: Stepanek took the first set but Murray battled back to edge through

Flying start: Stepanek took the first set but Murray battled back to edge through

A stunning forehand winner – executed
at full reach having dashed the width of the court – in the third game
of the deciding set helped Stepanek secure a crucial break.

But Murray broke back immediately in
impressive style and barely broke sweat as he cruised to victory,
Stepanek buckling beneath the pressure in the closing stages.

Roofless: The players faced each other on a clear night in Shanghai

Roofless: The players faced each other on a clear night in Shanghai

US Open 2012: Andy Murray to fight Tomas Berdych from first point

Murray promises he'll take fight to Berdych from the very start in semi-final showdown

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UPDATED:

08:08 GMT, 7 September 2012

Andy Murray has vowed to be switched on from the first point when he meets Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals of the US Open on Saturday.

The Scot had been expected to face world No 1 Roger Federer in a rematch of their Wimbledon and Olympic finals but Berdych produced a stunning upset.

Murray looked set to be the victim of another shock when he trailed Marin Cilic by a set and 5-1 in their quarter-final on his bete noire, Louis Armstrong Stadium, but he pulled himself through, with more than a little help from a nervous opponent.

Last four: Andy Murray overcame a slow start to beat Marin Cilic in the quarters

Last four: Andy Murray overcame a slow start to beat Marin Cilic in the quarters

The good news for the third seed is he will certainly be on Arthur Ashe, where he has put in his two best performances of the tournament, especially in beating Canadian rising star Milos Raonic in the fourth round.

Murray managed largely to stay on a even keel mentally against Cilic despite his struggles – a legacy of the work he has done with coach Ivan Lendl – but he knows he must step things up if he is to reach a second consecutive grand slam final.

The Scot said: 'You never know exactly what's going to happen but I would hope that, going into the match on Saturday, I'll be in a good place mentally.

'I'll fight from the first point to the last. If I do that, I'll give myself a shot. But I can't afford to start like I did [on Wednesday night] – that's for sure.'

Murray's exploits in reaching his first Wimbledon final and then thrashing Federer to win Olympic gold have made him many people's favourite to win a maiden grand slam title here.

Dangerman: Czech Tomas Berdych has the power to beat any opponent

Dangerman: Czech Tomas Berdych has the power to beat any opponent

One advantage he will have over Berdych, which certainly would not have been the case against Federer, is experience.

This will be the Scot's eighth semi-final appearance at the last 10 grand slams, of which he has won two, while Berdych's only trip to the last four in that time came in his run to the Wimbledon final in 2010.

Indeed, the 26-year-old lost in the first round at the All England Club this year and then again at the Olympics but has well and truly turned his form around.

With his natural power and timing, Berdych is understandably confident in his abilities, and he said: 'If my game is well and I'm able to play my game, then I have a quite dangerous game to beat anyone.'

The other semi-final will be between defending champion Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer, who came through great matches against Juan Martin Del Potro and Janko Tipsarevic, respectively.

Meanwhile, Murray's victory over Cilic secured his place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.

The 25-year-old joins Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in booking his spot for what will be a fifth consecutive appearance at the end-of-season showpiece for the Scot.

Wimbledon 2012 Andy Murray insists title is not on his mind

Murray reaches for the sky with Ferrer up next, but Brit ace insists title is not on his mind

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UPDATED:

23:26 GMT, 3 July 2012

Andy Murray looks to the heavens as he contemplates his Wimbledon quarter-final against David Ferrer.

But he refuses to dream of the ultimate prize, despite Grand Slam nemesis Rafael Nadal being removed from his path.

The 25-year-old Scot dodged the Court No 1 rain to finish off Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-2, 6-3, but is desperate not to get ahead of himself despite being just three victories from the title.

Heavens above: Andy Murray toasts his passage through to the last eight

Heavens above: Andy Murray toasts his passage through to the last eight

‘I’m sure it would mean a lot but it’s so far away,’ he said. ‘I’m not feeling the sensations you get when you’re close to winning a major right now, because I’m playing the No 5 player in the world and I lost to him just a few weeks ago at the French Open. It’s just too far to think about it now, I’ve thought about it in the past, but during this tournament it’s not something on my mind.’

Of the five quarter-finals Murray has played at Wimbledon — an open era record for a Briton, overtaking Tim Henman — Spain’s Ferrer is his toughest opponent since Nadal beat him in 2008.

Tough task: Murray must be at his best against David Ferrer who beat him at the French Open in June

Tough task: Murray must be at his best against David Ferrer who beat him at the French Open in June

But the stakes are higher as the world No 2 does not stand in his way in the semi-finals, as in the past two years.

Instead the winner will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Lying in wait: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the likely opponent for the winner - should the Frenchman beat Philipp Kohlschreiber

Lying in wait: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the likely opponent for the winner – should the Frenchman beat Philipp Kohlschreiber

Murray brushed aside any controversy about being forced to play a match off Centre Court.

He said: ‘I don’t think I should get preferential treatment. I don’t deserve to play all my matches on Centre. Just because I’m from this country I don’t think I should get special treatment. But I hope I play my next few matches on Centre.’

David Nalbandian kicked out of Queen"s Club final

Nalbandian booted out of Queen's Club final after wild kick at line judge

PUBLISHED:

14:54 GMT, 17 June 2012

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UPDATED:

15:05 GMT, 17 June 2012

David Nalbandian was disqualified from the AEGON Championships final against Marin Cilic after kicking an advertising panel in to a line judge's leg.

Nalbandian won the first set on a tie-break but reacted angrily after being broken for the second time in the second set.

Having just lost the seventh game Nalbandian fiercely kicked an advertising board in front of line judge Andrew McDougall's chair.

Scroll down for the video

David Nalbandian of Argentina looks at the Line Umpire's bloody leg

David Nalbandian

Injured: David Nalbandian kicked an advertising board into a line judge, cutting his leg in the process

The board smacked into the line judge's shin and a caused an inch-long bloody gash.

Referee
Fergus Murphy then awarded Cilic the match, and the championship,
disqualifying Nalbandian for 'unsportsmanlike behaviour.'

Embarrassed: David Nalbandian defaulted after injuring a line judge

Embarrassed: David Nalbandian defaulted after injuring a line judge

Davis Cup: Spain to play USA in semi-final after win over Austria

Ferrer sets up last four USA tie as Davis Cup holders Spain beat Austria

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UPDATED:

16:34 GMT, 8 April 2012

David Ferrer beat Jurgen Melzer in straight sets to send defending champions Spain into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup at the expense of Austria.

Spain lost Saturday's doubles rubber but held a 2-1 lead coming into the final day in Oropesa del Mar after winning both singles matches on Friday.

And world No 5 Ferrer gave the hosts an unassailable 3-1 advantage with a 7-5 6-3 6-3 victory over Melzer in the fourth rubber.

Cheer we go: David Ferrer celebrates after beating Austrian Jurgen Melzer

Cheer we go: David Ferrer celebrates after beating Austrian Jurgen Melzer

Ferrer broke in game 12 of the opening set and asserted his authority thereafter, breaking twice in the second and third sets.

The Spanish will now take on the United States in the last four.

Marching on: John Isner celebrates his win over France with the US set to take on Spain in the semi-final

Marching on: John Isner celebrates his win over France with the US set to take on Spain in the semi-final

Alex Kay Talks Tennis

The USA also opened up a 3-1 lead in their quarter-final against France, with big-serving John Isner beating world No 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 6-3 in the fourth rubber in Roquebrune.

The nations had been all square after the opening day, but doubles specialists Bob and Mike Bryan had put the States in the driving seat on Saturday.

Juan Martin del Porto eased past Marin Cilic 6-1 6-2 6-1 to send Argentina through to a semi-final clash with the Czechs.

Last season's beaten finalists had won an epic five-set doubles rubber on Saturday to take a 2-1 lead over Croatia.

And Del Porto put the result beyond the visitors by taking advantage against an exhausted Cilic, who had been one half of Croatia's doubles pairings and also been taken to five sets by David Nalbandian in Friday's opening rubber.