Thu, Oct 17, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Murray overcomes steely Coppejans in Antwerp opener

Reuters

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray on Tuesday began his European Open campaign with a battling 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over unseeded Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium in Antwerp, Belgium.

The 32-year-old Scot, who is continuing his comeback after having career-saving hip resurfacing surgery in January, was stretched by the wildcard in the second set, but held his nerve to prevail in 1 hour, 44 minutes.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray won 75 percent of points on his first serve and converted four out of six break points to overcome his opponent, who is ranked 158 in the world, for his first ATP-level victory in Europe for 16 months.

Murray next faces either eighth seed Pablo Cuevas or Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, who were to meet in yesterday’s first round.

Having won his first ATP Tour matches since his surgery during the Asian swing and reached the China Open quarter-finals, Murray is hoping to regain full match fitness before he makes his much-anticipated Grand Slam return at next year’s Australian Open.

South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo earlier rallied past Frenchman Richard Gasquet 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Feliciano Lopez beat Cameron Norrie 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, France’s Gilles Simon and Italy’s Jannik Sinner also advanced.

DAVIS CUP

Reuters, NEW DELHI

India’s tennis association plans to apply for visas for their Davis Cup tie against Pakistan next month, but expects the fixture to be moved away from Islamabad, All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee told reporters yesterday.

The Asia/Oceania Group I tie, originally scheduled for Sept. 14 and 15 in Islamabad, was postponed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to late next month following a security review.

“We’ve begun the visa procedure while waiting for a confirmation on the venue by the ITF,” Chatterjee said by telephone. “We’ve requested a change in venue and the ITF has promised to get back to us by Nov. 3.”

Pakistan was forced to host Davis Cup ties at neutral venues for more than a decade as teams refused to travel to the country citing security concerns.

They played their first home tie after a gap of 12 years against Iran in 2017, while Hong Kong was relegated and fined that year by the ITF after they refused to travel to Pakistan.

Chatterjee said that it was premature to talk about a possible pullout by top players should the ITF stick to Islamabad as the venue and was optimistic that the governing body would shift the venue of the tie match.

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