Tennis  

Top seeds advance as Andy Murray bows out

The top seeded men and women players advanced in the middle of the first week that saw Britain’s Andy Murray battling to the last breath in his farewell match in Melbourne.Leading the men’s field is world number one, Novak Djokovic.

In his first round match, the Serb breezed past America’s Mitchell Kreueger, 6/3; 6/2; 6/2 and defeated French veteran, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 6/3; 7/5; 6/4 for a place in the third round. The defending champion, Roger Federer dismissed bespectacled Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the first round but faced a stiffer challenge in the second round, as 28-year-old Daniel Evans, ranked 190, almost took the first set in a tie break. Federer prevailed 76 (5), 7/6 (3), 6/3 in one hour and 35 minutes.

The second seeded Rafael Nadal had little problem in defeating Australia’s wild-card entrant, Jack Duckworth in the first round and another Aussie, Matthew Ebden 6/3; 6/2; 6/2 to move into the third round. The fourth seed, Alexander Zverev defeated Adrianne Bedene 6/4; 6/1; 6/4.World Number one, Simona Halep lost the first set to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia but recouped to win 6/7 (2); 6/4; 6/2. Again, she dropped a set before outlasting 20-year-old American, Sofia Kenin, 6/3; 6/7(5); 6/4. The second seeded Angelique Kerber dismissed Slovenia’s Polona Hercog 6/2; 6/2 and Brazil’s Maia Haddad 6/3; 6/2 to reach the third round.

Former champion, Serena Williams, seeded 16th, was all business as she defeated Tatjana Maria of Germany 6/0; 6/2 and Canada’s Eugenia Bouchard 6/2; 6/2 to reach third round. Her unseeded sister, Venus dropped the first set to the 25th seed, Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania but came through 6/7 (3), 7/6 (2), 6/2.

In a first round match, Michael Mmoh lost to Moldavia’s Radu Albot 3/6; 6/3; 6/4; 6/2, while wild-card beneficiary, Whitney Osuigwe lost to the qualifier from Canada, Andreascu 6/7 (1); 7/6 (0); 6/3.

Andy Murray made the long journey to Melbourne for one last effort but the frailty of the human (physical body) was the determinant. A capacity night time crowd in Melbourne Arena watched as the strong Scot battled for over four hours before succumbing 6/4; 6/4; 6/7(5); 6/7(2); 6/2 to the marathoner from Spain, Roberto Bautista Agut.Murray turned professional in 2005 and won 45 titles, 663 matches while losing 191.

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Andy Murray
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