Unseeded Andy Murray handed tricky Wimbledon draw

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LONDON — Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was handed a tough draw at the Championships as the returning Brit opens his campaign against tricky Frenchman Benoit Paire.

Paire, who recently forced Roger Federer to save two match points in their Halle second round, is a former world No. 18 currently ranked 48 in the world.

Murray, who came back to competition at Queens last week after nearly a one-year injury-enforced absence, is ranked 156 in the world and has won just one of three matches contested since he has returned (lost his opener to Nick Kyrgios in Queens, beat Stan Wawrinka then lost to Kyle Edmund in Eastbourne).

The ex-world No. 1, who reached the quarter-finals here last year before getting sidelined with a hip injury that required surgery, is yet to confirm his participation at Wimbledon but if he does play, he’ll have a difficult path to navigate.

Murray is 2-0 against Paire head-to-head, which includes a victory over the Frenchman in the Wimbledon fourth round last year.

If Murray gets past Paire, he could face either No. 26 seed Denis Shapovalov or in-form Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who has won 12 out of 14 grass-court matches in the past three weeks, winning the Surbiton Challenger, making the finals at s-Hertogenbosch and reaching the semi-finals at Queens.

Possible awaiting in the third round for Murray are the likes of No. 5 seed Juan Martin del Potro, or grass-court wizard Feliciano Lopez.

No. 10 seed David Goffin could be a fourth round opponent for Murray, while world No. 1 Rafael Nadal is a possible quarter-final rival.

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem, 12th-seeded Novak Djokovic and 15th-seeded Nick Kyrgios are all possible semi-final opponents.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer’s possible route to a record-extending ninth Wimbledon crown looks smooth as he opens against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic. The first seed the Swiss could face is No. 32 seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. A real test could come in the fourth round in the form of No. 16 seed Borna Coric, who defeated Federer in the Halle final last Sunday.

Eighth-seeded Kevin Anderson could take on Federer in the quarter-finals, while a rematch of last year’s final against Marin Cilic could this time take place in the semis.

Sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov is in the same half as Federer and he opens against three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, who is unseeded after missing several months on tour with a knee injury that required two surgeries last August.

Nadal, seeded No. 2, opens against Dudi Sela and shares a quarter of the draw with Del Potro.

Djokovic faces American Tennys Sandgren in the first round and could face No. 21 seed Edmund in the third round. Edmund defeated the Serb in Madrid last month. Djokovic could play Thiem in the fourth round, while Kyrgios or Zverev could await in the quarter-finals.

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Eugenie Bouchard feels like she 'earned' her place at Wimbledon after qualifying

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Former Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard posted a third victory in qualifying to secure a spot in the main draw of the All England Club showpiece and says she feels she has ‘earned it more’ compared to gaining direct entry via ranking.

Bouchard, a losing finalist to Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon in 2014, has slipped to No. 191 in the rankings due to loss of form and injury.

She defeated Colombian Mariana Duque-Marino 6-3, 6-2 in the final round of Wimbledon qualifying at Roehampton on Thursday to move into the main draw.

“I was a little nervous before so I’m proud of the way I performed,” the Canadian former world No. 5 said after her win.


“It’s interesting. I feel like I earned it more, than having just been in by ranking. I’m proud of it and I got matches this week, that’s what I wanted. I haven’t played a lot, I’ve been injured so the goal is to play matches and I got that.








“I feel like I’ve been improving recently. I don’t really want to compare myself to the past, or others. I just try to be the best I can every day.”


Others to qualify on Thursday include former Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva, last year’s Wimbledon junior champion Claire Liu, and Romanian veteran Alexandra Dulgheru.



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Marta Kostyuk back from brink to win Wimbledon qualifying epic against Kristie Ahn

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Just one day shy of her 16th birthday, Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk fought back from the brink twice to defeat American Kristie Ahn 6-7 (1), 6-3, 9-7 and reach the final round of Wimbledon qualifying on Wednesday.

Ahn served for the match twice but Kostyuk refused to fold as she stepped closer to making her Wimbledon main draw debut with a hard-fought two-hour 42-minute triumph, which she celebrated with a signature acrobatic backward flip on court.

Kostyuk, who made a surprise run to the third round of the Australian Open last January to become the youngest woman to make that stage in Melbourne since Martina Hingis in 1996 next faces Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo on Thursday.

“I was just so happy that I went through this second round because last year I was losing straight in Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open, so I was like this one I have to win. I feel like I’ve broken the wall,” Kostyuk said after the match.


“I was so pissed the whole match, I have no idea why. I was just tired probably.”









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