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Olympic champion Bencic off to winning start at Luxembourg Open

By Sports Desk September 16, 2021

Belinda Bencic made a winning return to action as the Olympic champion defeated Zarina Diyas to seal a quarter-final spot at the Luxembourg Open.

Bencic, the unlikely successor in Tokyo, triumphed in straight sets 6-1 6-3 on Thursday to tee up a last-eight encounter with Liudmila Samsonova, who the Swiss lost to in Berlin earlier this year.

It was a welcome return to form for world number 12 Bencic after her defeat to eventual champion Emma Raducanu in the US Open quarter-finals last week.

Joining the top seed in the quarters is defending Luxembourg Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who needed three sets to overcome Arianne Hartono.

Second seed Elise Mertens also progressed, though she had to come from behind to beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-6 6-2 7-5.

In Thursday's other last-16 tie, Marie Bouzkova beat Greet Minnen to round off the quarter-finals line up.

Meanwhile, Sorana Cirstea and Jasmine Paolini will meet in the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz quarter-finals after respective victories over Tereza Martincova and Anna Kalinskaya.

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    Murray produced his best win for several months in the first round by seeing off Denis Shapovalov but fell to a 6-2 6-4 loss against 18th-ranked Frenchman Humbert.

    Speaking to reporters post-match, the 36-year-old said of his future: “I’m likely not going to play past this summer.

    “I get asked about it after every single match that I play, every single tournament that I play. I’m bored of the question, to be honest.

    “I’m not going to talk more about that between now and whenever the time comes for me to stop. But, yes, I don’t plan on playing much past this summer.”

    Murray has not won more than a single match at any tournament since August and, after beating Shapovalov, the Scot talked about trying to do his best “these last few months”.

    Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme: “When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament.”

    While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

    Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

    If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

    Murray dropped serve twice in succession in the opening set against Humbert and was unable to apply any real pressure on his opponent’s delivery, winning just seven return points during the contest.

    The second set was a little closer, but Murray cut a thoroughly frustrated figure, ranting at himself and smacking the umpire’s chair with his racket, as he attempted to trade with the clean-hitting Frenchman, who clinched victory after only an hour-and-a-half.

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    Andy Murray’s search for back-to-back wins goes on after he was comfortably beaten by Ugo Humbert in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

    Murray produced his best win for several months in the first round by seeing off Denis Shapovalov but fell to a 6-2 6-4 loss against 18th-ranked Frenchman Humbert.

    Murray dropped serve twice in succession in the opening set and was unable to apply any real pressure on Humbert’s delivery, winning just seven return points during the contest.

    The second set was a little closer, but Murray cut a thoroughly frustrated figure as he attempted to trade with the clean-hitting Frenchman, who clinched victory after only an hour-and-a-half.

    Murray has not won more than a single match at any tournament since August and speculation continues around when he will depart the court for good.

    After beating Shapovalov, the Scot talked about trying to do his best “these last few months”, but he has now hinted he would like to keep going until at least this summer’s Olympics.

    Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme he is likely to make that information public at some point.

    “When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament,” he said. “Whether I say anything months ahead of the time, I don’t know.”

    While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

    Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

    If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

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    Andy Murray has hinted he will keep going until at least this summer’s Olympics.

    The 36-year-old has been speaking openly about the impending end of his career this season and said after beating Denis Shapovalov in Dubai on Monday: “I probably don’t have too long left, but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months.”

    Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme he is likely to make that information public at some point.

    “When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament,” he said. “Whether I say anything months ahead of the time, I don’t know.”

    While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

    Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

    If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 after a difficult start to the year – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

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