Saturday, May 21, 2011

Murray fit and ready to go in Paris

Murray fit and ready to go in Paris
Andy Murray declared himself fit and ready to continue his encouraging form on clay at the French Open, which gets under way in Paris this weekend.
The world number four has struggled to match his results on other surfaces on the red stuff but semi-final appearances at the Masters events in Monte Carlo and Rome, where he pushed Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, were a significant step forward.
Murray's hopes of at least matching his best performance at the French Open, a quarter-final appearance in 2009, were also boosted by a kind-looking draw on Friday.
The Scot will first face French qualifier Eric Prodon, with the match to be played on Monday at the earliest, with another qualifier guaranteed in the second round.
Milos Raonic and Alexandr Dolgopolov are potential dangers in the third and fourth rounds but Murray would surely have settled for being in the same quarter as Jurgen Melzer, while Nadal is a probable semi-final opponent.
The fourth seed, who confirmed his decision to miss an exhibition match on Thursday was simply a precaution after a heavy schedule, said: "I feel good. I have been playing well on the clay, better than previous years.
"I feel like I've been training well. Physically I feel like I'm in good shape and I have been moving well, too. I'm looking forward to the start of the tournament.
"You've got to be very focused during the French especially, because one bad set or a couple of bad sets and you can get yourself fatigued early in the tournament."
The standout British performer so far has been Heather Watson, who qualified on Friday for the main draw of a grand slam for the first time with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Stefanie Voegele.
The 19-year-old, who will face French wild card Stephanie Foretz-Gacon in round one, is the first British woman to win a final-round qualifier at Roland Garros for almost 30 years.
She credited a new-found calmness and a vow never to throw a racquet again following a bad-tempered loss in Rome a fortnight ago for her success.
Watson said: "I saw pictures of the racquet-throwing in Rome and it looked terrible. It was very unprofessional and that's not my goal. There's bigger things going on in the world to get mad at than tennis and a few points."
Britain's other two representatives in the women's singles were also handed favourable draws, with Elena Baltacha taking on American qualifier Sloane Stephens and Anne Keothavong facing Russian Vesna Dolonts.
Among the top seeds, the pairing of Nadal with giant American John Isner was the stand-out tie. Djokovic will meet Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker while Roger Federer takes on Feliciano Lopez.
In an open-looking women's field, top seed Caroline Wozniacki faces Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm, Kim Clijsters meets Anastasiya Yakimova, defending champion Francesca Schiavone takes on Melanie Oudin and Maria Sharapova is up against Mirjana Lucic.

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