Murray sees off Thiem in Madrid as Halep surges on

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Andy Murray has urged Dominic Thiem to “keep going” in his comeback from injury after Murray defeated the Austrian 6-3, 6-4 in the Madrid Open first round to claim his first win on a clay court in five years.

Thiem returned from a 10-month wrist injury lay-off four weeks ago and has yet to taste victory in any of the four matches he has contested so far.

“I hope you feel better soon. I’m glad to see you back, keep going, it takes a lot of time but you’ll be fine,” Murray told the former US Open champion as they shook hands at the net.

He plans on playing in the Spanish capital, as well as next week’s ATP 1000 tournament in Rome before shifting his focus to next month’s grass season.

“I enjoyed it. I prepared really hard before coming here, worked hard and really wanted to go on and put a good performance out there and I feel like I did that,” said Murray after the win.

Halep climbed back from 1-4 down in the second set to skip past Gauff in 77 minutes.

“In the second set she changed a little bit, she was more aggressive and it wasn’t easy to adjust. But in the end I pushed her back and I did what I wanted to do.”

The Romanian two-time Grand Slam champion takes a 2-1 head-to-head record into her last-eight showdown with the Ons Jabeur, who at No.10 in the world, is the highest-ranked player left in the draw.

“Just a reminder guys, Simona won against Paula and she’s Spanish so if she wins you have to cheer for me,” laughed Jabeur after her 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 success over reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

The win came on a special occasion for the Tunisian as she celebrates Eid with the Muslim world.

On the men’s side, Gael Monfils eased past 20-year-old Spanish wildcard Carlos Gimeno Valero 6-3, 6-0 in just 55 minutes to book a second-round meeting with world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

“The guy is better than me,” said Monfils, who is contesting his first clay-court tournament of the season.

Italian No.10 seed Jannik Sinner squandered a 5-2 lead in the opening set and fought back from the brink in the second en route to a 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over former French Open junior champion Tommy Paul of USA.

str/bsp 

Originally published as Murray sees off Thiem in Madrid as Halep surges on


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