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10 things from the weekend: Murray, Federer and more

Andy Murray celebrates as he progresses into the Quarter-Finals.
by Alex Sharp
Tuesday 5 May 2015

It was a frantic weekend on both the ATP and WTA tours with the clay court season in full swing...

Murray breaks another record to prove clay prowess

‘We’re not very good on clay,’ said a shattered Andy Murray after picking up his first clay court title. The Brit captured the Munich Open with a 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday. Murray prevailed in over three-hours of high quality tennis in a rain hit final carried over from the weekend. In doing so the world No.3 emulated Buster Mottram to become the first Briton to win on the red dirt since his triumph at Palma in 1976. Murray picked up a 32nd Tour title and proved his doubters wrong that he can perform on the clay. Despite reaching the final four at Roland Garros in the past, Murray is not seen as a true challenger in Paris, however in winning a first clay title he can really push forward and possibly topple reigning champion Rafael Nadal.

"It means a lot to have won," said Murray. "It was my first final on the clay, having lost a few semi-finals at Roland Garros, Rome and Monte-Carlo. We played a very high standard match. I just managed to hang on at the end.

"He served unbelievably well. I had very few chances when I was returning. We may even play one another in Madrid, in a few days’ time [this week]. Philipp is a superb competitor and fought right to the end. It is nice to have won my first clay title and I hope to win another one soon.”

Romantic Murray is up for the fight

Having recently married you could forgive Andy Murray for being slightly off the boil on his return to the Tour in Munich but the Scot was far from placid in Germany. The tournament was a test of his resolve and motivation for the upcoming clay stretch with rain delays forcing the 27-year-old to play three matches (two singles, one doubles) on the same day. Munich was the first outing with stand-in coach Jonas Bjorkman, who told the MailOnline that he wants Murray to win the ‘mental boxing match’ in tennis and he certainly displayed his fighting qualities in a heated contest with Lukas Rosol in the quarter-finals. The Czech appeared to bump into Murray at a change of ends which clearly riled him. The exchange had to be halted by the umpire as Murray quipped "No one likes you on the tour. Everyone hates you." Murray did prove his softer side by attaching his wedding ring to his shoelaces during play, illustrating he is a true romantic at heart!

Confident Kohlschreiber is a danger man

German Philipp Kohlschreiber was distraught after the Munich final. In front of a partisan home crowd, the world No.24 valiantly pushed his higher ranked opponent all the way in a pulsating encounter. The rallies were brutal and Kohlschreiber reeled off countless sublime single handed backhand winners. Despite losing the final Kohlschreiber, who took also Murray to a marathon five sets at Roland Garros in 2014, demonstrated that he will be a nasty draw in Paris for the main contenders.

"It was a very special moment for me, in front of a home crowd," Kohlschreiber said after the final. "I think I pushed Andy to the limit. We had some unbelievable points. I think, for the spectators who came, it was one of the best Munich finals.

"Munich is always very special. It is my best tournament on the tour. I love playing here and on the clay. I don’t want to watch the match tomorrow, but I enjoy playing clay-court tournaments. This gives me a lot of confidence for the future."

Federer is champion again

The inaugural BNP Paribas Istanbul Open had a familiar name picking up the trophy, Roger Federer. The Swiss maestro turned up in Turkey looking for match practise ahead of the Roland Garros build up at Madrid this week. Federer scooped up his 85th Tour title, his third in 2015, with a 6-3, 7-6 win over Pablo Cuevas but was pushed to three sets by Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Diego Schwartzman in the proceeding rounds. The 17-time Grand Slam champion looked to be experimenting tactically in Istanbul but will need to be far sharper against a strong field in the Spanish capital.

Breakthrough run for Schwartzman

All the talk in Istanbul was surrounding the appearance of Roger Federer but Argentine youngster Diego Schwartzman put in a fine run. The 22-year-old ended a four-match losing streak to reach a first Tour semi-final with impressive wins over Blaz Kavcic, Jurgen Melzer and Santiago Giraldo. He is certainly one for the future, highlighted by his 6-2, 2-6, 5-7 display against eventual champion Federer.

Seed shock

As this article is written the Madrid Masters is already in full swing and there have been a couple of shocks in the first round. 15th seed Kevin Anderson continued his slump in form to fall to Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3. Also, Roland Garros 2014 semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis failed to overturn recent results by losing to a resurgent David Goffin 6-3, 1-6, 5-7 in their Madrid opener.

Edmund on the rise

Good news for Team GB fans. Kyle Edmund has reached a career high ranking of No.125 after two consecutive clay court quarter-finals on the Challenger Tour in Italy. It’s been a prosperous spell for the 20-year-old who has maintained a high level, including a win over Benoit Paire in Guadeloupe from a set down, to indicate he’s on the right track.

Former British No.1 Laura Robson has had to delay her long awaited return to the WTA Tour again after ruling out a possible appearance at the French Open. The 21-year-old has been out of action since wrist surgery kept her off court at the beginning of 2014 and aims to be competing again during the grass court campaign.

Gasquet back to winning ways

Richard Gasquet was another champion over the weekend. The 28-year-old appears rejuvenated under the stewardship of Sergi Bruguera and Sebastien Grosjean in his corner. Gasquet wielded his magnificent backhand on way to capturing the Millennium Estoril Open trophy by nullifying the threat of Nick Kyrgios during a 6-3, 6-2 final win. His 12th ATP crown proves the Frenchman is pushing back towards top form in time for his home Grand Slam.

Aussie star still on song

Having just turned 20, Nick Kyrgios is living with a lot of hype. The gregarious Australian has featured in the May edition of Vogue magazine as potential endorsements line-up for the new kid on the block. Despite the off-court interest in Kyrgios, his game seems to be matching the hype with a promising showing on clay in Estoril. A run to the final included victories over Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Filip Krajinovic, Robin Haase and Pablo Carreno Busta. Kyrgios still performed to the crowd at Estoril with his explosive shot making and repertoire of trick shots, as the popularity continues to flourish.

Svitolina and Pliskova on title charge

Eilina Svitolina surged to the GP SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem title in Marrakech, dropping just won set along the way. In the final the world No.21 defeated Timea Babos 7-5, 6-3 for her third career crown. Also, in Prague Karolina Pliskova won her home tournament with a hard fought 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Lucie Hradecka.

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