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French Open: Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori tested early, battle into Round 2

first_imgTop-seeded Andy Murray is safely through to the second round of the French Open after beating Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.Murray, who was runner-up at Roland Garros last year, has been struggling in 2017 and looked uncomfortable at times during the second set.But the world No. 1 got into his stride and saw out the final set in just 27 minutes, sealing the match with a forehand down the line after winning eight successive games.”Last year was a great year for me, you know it was the best I ever played,” Murray said. “Here at the beginning of my career I struggled. But each year I kept coming back and was trying a little bit better and last year was really good.”And last year during Bercy that’s when I reached No. 1 for first time, so I’ve got very good memories from Paris last year, and I’ll try and have another good one year this year.”The British player will face Martin Klizan in the second round.NISHIKORI FIGHTS HIS WAY THROUGHThanassi Kokkinakis came short in his bid to win his first match at a major in two years.Eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori had to work hard, however, to beat the 21-year-old Australian 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 on Court 1 at the French Open.Kokkinakis’s promising career has been derailed by a shoulder injury that required surgery in December 2015. He was playing only his third singles match since then.Nishikori’s next opponent will be Jeremy Chardy.VERDASCO ELIMINATES ZVEREVadvertisementOn a day of upsets on Court Philippe Chatrier, ninth-seeded Alexander Zverev lost to Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 when their first-round match resumed.Zverev, who is regarded as one of the most gifted players on tour, broke his racket during the fourth set.The match was suspended on Monday because of darkness after the players split the first two sets.The 20-year-old Zverev was one of the outside favorites after impressing on his way to victory at the Italian Open.LOKOLI REFUSES TO SHAKE HANDS AFTER LOSSLaurent Lokoli did not do honor to his wild card at the French Open.Not only did the Frenchman lose in the first round, he also refused a handshake from his opponent.After losing 7-6 (4), 6-3, 4-6, 0-6, 6-4 to Martin Klizan, Lokoli did not go the net to wait for the Slovakian player. As Klizan came over to the Frenchman, Lokoli gestured to make it clear he didn’t want to get near him.Lokoli later said Klizan was the one who did not respect him because he kept simulating injuries throughout their match.”He was not chasing drop shots and faked that his leg was hurting for more than two sets. Then he was running around like a rabbit in the fifth set,” Lokoli said. “And then he speaks to me about respect.”The two men also traded barbs during the match after Klizan shouted his joy to celebrate a double-fault from Lokoli that gave him a 5-2 lead in the decider.last_img read more

Robson: Utd goal struggle down to Pogba

first_imgManchester United ‘The sooner Pogba comes back the better’ – Man Utd goal struggles down to absent star, says Robson Chris Burton Last updated 2 years ago 06:31 11/3/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Paul Pogba Manchester United Getty Images Manchester United Paul Pogba Premier League The France international midfielder has been missing since mid-September and the Red Devils have seen their early spark extinguished without him Manchester United’s struggle to produce their early-season spark is down to the ongoing absence of Paul Pogba, says Bryan Robson.Mou’s Reds 11/5 to draw with ChelseaThe Red Devils have been without the services of their £89 million midfielder since September 12. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player An unfortunate hamstring injury picked up in a Champions League meeting with Basel has kept Pogba out of 11 fixtures and counting.Jose Mourinho has conceded that he still has “no idea” when the 24-year-old will be back, which spells bad news for former captain Robson who considers United to be missing a key cog in a unit which burst out of the blocks in 2017-18.”The only thing which is a little bit of a shame for United so far, because I think United might have had even more points on the board, is if Pogba had been fit all the time,” he told Betsafe.”Because I thought the balance of Matic and Pogba, Herrera or Fellaini, whichever way the manager wanted to play them: Pogba was scoring goals, but he was creating goals because he had this really good understanding with Lukaku.”So I think we’ve missed that to a certain degree and that’s why we’re not scoring as many goals as when we started the season.”The sooner Pogba comes back the better for the club.”United will be without Pogba once again when they take on reigning Premier League champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.Jose Mourinho will be relying on others to get the job done against his former club and keep the Red Devils in the title hunt.Robson believes United are capable of claiming a positive result, but only if they are able to control the area of the field in which Pogba would have been deployed.He added: “If United can dominate the midfield area where we don’t let [Eden] Hazard get a lot of the ball and Pedro, then I think our centre halves can handle [Alvaro] Morata.”If we can dominate the midfield area then we’ve got a great chance of getting a result.“I’m going to go for a draw. Yeah, I think there could be a few goals, but I think it’ll be a tied game.”last_img read more