ATP

Murray returns to Indian Wells with strong win over Mannarino

By Sports Desk October 09, 2021

Three-time major winner Andy Murray marked his return to the Indian Wells Masters with a strong 6-3 6-2 win over dangerous Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in Friday's first-round encounter.

Murray, who had not played at Indian Wells in four years, won in one hour and 24 minutes with a disciplined display, winning 82 per cent of first serve points.

The Briton, who only faced one break point for the match, will next take on Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who enjoyed a fine run to the US Open quarter-finals in September.

"I think Alcaraz is really, really good," Murray said after the win. "I think he’s got a good chance at it."

On his own performance, Murray added: "I thought my mentality was good tonight. I sort of focused just on every single point.

"It's been a tough road to get back and it was so nice that so many people managed to come out and support today. I really enjoyed it."

BROOKSBY SETS UP ZVEREV DATE

Emerging American Jenson Brooksby triumphed over Cem Ilkel 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to book his spot in the second round where he will face third seed Alexander Zverev.

The 20-year-old world number 79, who was the runner-up at the Hall of Fame Open in July, prevailed in his Indian Wells debut in one hour and 44 minutes.

Brooksby dropped only four points on his serve, with Ilkel unable to generate a break point throughout the match.

The California native has been a break-out star in the latter half of 2021, reaching the fourth round at the US Open, entering the top 100 after starting the year ranked 307th.

 

SOCK PUT AWAY BY AUSTRALIAN

Former top 10 player Jack Sock was bundled out by Australian John Millman 7-5 4-6 6-3 in an epic first-round clash which lasted two and a half hours.

Sock, who has battled injuries in recent times and was handed a wild card for Indian Wells, pushed Millman all the way, with the Australian breaking to lead 5-3 in the third set before serving out for victory.

World number 61 Pedro Martinez made light work of Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora 6-4 6-0 to set up a second-round meeting with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 24-year-old Spaniard triumphed in one hour and 15 minutes.

Former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson sent down 10 aces in a 7-5 6-2 win over Jordan Thompson.

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    Iga Swiatek insists she is unbothered by the focus on her remarkable winning streak as she continues to play with "nothing to lose" at the French Open.

    World number one Swiatek progressed into the fourth round at Roland Garros with a 6-3 7-5 win over Danka Kovinic on Saturday.

    The 20-year-old has won her last 31 matches, just one short of the tally achieved by former world number one Justine Henin in 2008.

    Swiatek would match the longest winning streak of this century, set by Venus Williams in 2000 (35), should she go on to lift the trophy in Paris.

    But the Pole says is focusing on playing with freedom as opposed to getting caught up in the furore surrounding her winning run.

    "For sure nothing to lose. It's been always like that. I feel like every person plays better when they feel like they have nothing to lose," Swiatek told reporters.

    "I mean, from my point of view, I don't really mind the streak. I'm just playing my tennis. I've gained so many points this season already that I try to look at it from that perspective that I actually have nothing to lose here.

    "I just try to focus on the stuff that actually is going on. Thinking about all these stats, it's not really helpful.

    "So basically I try to be really strict in terms of my thoughts and try to really focus on finding solutions.

    "The thoughts are there, but I'm accepting that, and it's kind of the biggest part of the job is to manage them properly and to really shift the focus on the right things."

    Swiatek won her first and only grand slam at Roland Garros in 2020, and has now won 17 of the 19 matches she has played at the French Open.

    That feat ranks her just behind Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Monica Seles for the number of wins from their first 19 matches at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

    Overcoming China's Zheng Qinwen is the next task for Swiatek, who expects a tough test against the world number 74.

    "I'm not really familiar, honestly. Because I didn't watch a lot of tennis during the past couple of months, but I have heard some other players talking about her," she added. 

    "I'm sure that she's in the right place for her to be, because she's playing really well. Even when she lost some matches, people were really telling me that she has talent.

    "But I didn't really watch a lot, so I'm not like tactically ready. For now I'm going to prepare, for sure."

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    On Saturday, she defeated Danka Kovinic 6-3 7-5 to move into round four, tallying up a 31st consecutive win in the process – only three players Justine Henin (32), Serena Williams (34) and Venus Williams (35) have recorded longer winning streaks this century.

    Swiatek won the first and only grand slam title of her career at Roland Garros in 2020, and of the 19 matches she has now played at the French Open, the 20-year-old has won 17.

    That feat ranks her just behind Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Monica Seles for the number of wins from their first 19 matches at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

    Evert, Seles and 24-time grand slam winner Court managed 18 victories from that number of matches.

    Swiatek was beaten by Maria Sakkari at the quarter-final stage in Paris last year.

  • French Open: Swiatek made to work but tallies up 31st successive win French Open: Swiatek made to work but tallies up 31st successive win

    Iga Swiatek's quest to win a second French Open title continued as she progressed into the fourth round with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of Danka Kovinic.

    Playing early on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday, the top seed made ultimately got past the world number 95 Kovinic in straight sets, though the Montenegrin did not go down without a fight.

    Kovinic took all three break points that Swiatek offered up, with two of those coming in the second set, halting what seemed set to be a procession for the favourite.

    It has been over 100 days since Swiatek last lost a match, but the Pole temporarily lost her composure as Kovinic reeled off four straight games to go from 4-1 down to 5-4 up.

    The final game of Kovinic's streak was settled by a poor Swiatek backhand into the net as the 20-year-old saw the momentum swing the way of her opponent, who was frustrating the world number one with some sublime drop shots.

    Swiatek took a moment to recover, donning an extra layer, and responded in the next game by holding to 15, and a stray forehand from Kovinic then handed the 2020 champion a break and the chance to serve out the match.

    It was an opportunity Swiatek grasped, and though Kovinic fended off the first match point with a powerful forehand, a return straight into the net confirmed her exit.

    Swiatek will face Zheng Qinwen or Alize Cornet in round four.

    Data Slam: Swiatek closing in on Henin

    Swiatek's winning streak now stands at 31 matches, just one short of the tally reeled off by former world number one Justin Henin in 2008. Should she go all the way and triumph again at Roland Garros, then she will match the longest winning streak of this century, set by Venus Williams in 2000 (35).

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Swiatek – 13/23
    Kovinic – 13/31

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Swiatek – 1/0
    Kovinic – 3/4

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Swiatek – 5/10
    Kovinic – 3/3

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