Andy Murray succumbs to Djokovic and drops behind Federer

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Andy Murray succumbs to Djokovic and drops behind Federer

Andy Murray lost to Novak Djokovic by 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, conceding the Madrid Open title and in the process dropped to third place in the ATP world rankings, behind Roger Federer.

“I feel like I’ve been here before,” the Briton had said during his runner-up speech, which was given then after losing the Grand Slam to Djokovic.

And it was familiar scenes again here at La Caja Magica, as now it appears almost a routine event for Djokovic to snatch titles away from Murray.

In the match, Murray failed to avoid a Djokovic steamroll in the first set, withstood assaults to level in the second, and subsequently lost the decider, unable to his own against the Serb’s sheer power and accuracy.

But it was a sheer testament to Murray’s improvement as the Brit managed to cut it close – it would be unimaginable for him to make the game uncomfortable against hard opponents a few years before on clay, as Murray himself noted.

“It’s been a positive week for me this week overall,” he said. “A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be winning against Rafa and then pushing Novak this close on a clay court.”

Indeed, the Madrid crowd was silenced as Murray defeated local and tournament favourite Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals just as Djokovic made it past Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Djokovic lifts the Madrid Open trophy

Djokovic lifts the Madrid Open trophy

On the other hand, Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic could take the Masters title as an additional feather to his hat that accentuates his dominance in the world of tennis. He also revealed that his decade-long rivalry with Murray was something he enjoys.

“We are the two best players in the world, which at that time maybe it seemed like something that will be very challenging for us to achieve,” Djokovic said.

“But we both thrived to be at the top, and we’ve known each other since we were 12,” he added. “I think you can see already in those junior days that both of us have serious intentions to conquer the tennis world.”

The Madrid Open title was Djokovic’s fifth in the past sixth Masters tournaments, and a positive note with which he could begin his Roland Garros campaign, the only Grand Slam that remained out of his reach.

La Liga title race continues to final match

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La Liga title race continues to final match

Spanish giants FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are in position to win the league in their next and final game, as Atletico Madrid slipped up and fell out of the title race.

In the previous few weeks following a Barcelona slump, all three Spanish clubs had been chasing each other on the pinnacle of the Spanish top division.

But this week, Atletico’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Levante meant that Diego Simeone’s team could no longer chase for the title, given that they lag behind Barca in terms of goal differences and points. Even a defeat for Barca in

All games kicked off at the same time, and Atletico were the ones to climb up to 88 points first as Fernando Torres clinched Atletico’s first away goal in under two minutes, running on to a through ball for a clinical finish.

However, the already relegated Levante were unwilling to give up. Clearly feeling the desire to let the home crowd go home with something, Victor Cadasesus’s header equalized the game in the 30th minute before Giuseppe Rossi came off the bench and came free to score a last-gasp winner for the host.

“Levante played a great match and was better than us,” Simeone said after the game.

“I can just congratulate them. We had some chances to score, but they defended well.”

On the other hand, there are no sign of problems for the superior Catalonians as Barcelona demolished their neighbours Espanyol by five goals to nil.

Their hallowed offensive trinity all put themselves in the scoresheet. Luis Suarez hoists himself even further for Pichichi glory as he increased his league tally to 37 goals with a brace against Espanyol, 4 above Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who also bagged a brace against Valencia.

Still, Los Blancos were a lot less comfortable with their victory, as a struggling Valencia were able to clinch 2 goals in the second half that kept the host on their toes.

Nonetheless, with the last 3 vital points they grab from the match, Real Madrid will be able to keep the title in contention until the final day of La Liga.

Top seeds through in Madrid Open

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Top seeds through in Madrid Open

The top seeds of Madrid Open advanced through the stages of the tournament, as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray all secured victory against their respective opponents.

World number one Djokovic returns after a surprise exit out of the Monte Carlo Masters, and progressed by beating Croatian Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 in just an hour and 18 minutes. He then went ahead to defeat tournament 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in round three, winning by a larger margin at 6-2, 6-1.

The Serb, who was defeated early by Jiri Vesely last month, won 85% of points on his first serve against the 19-year-old Coric, who is nicknamed ‘Mini Djokovic’ after his playing style that resembles the Australian Open Champion’s.

His victory against Roberto Bautista Agut places him in the quarter finals, where he will be playing against Milos Raonic.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal stayed on course for a historical 50 career titles on clay with straight sets win over Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-2.

However, the Spaniard had to recover from a poor start as Querrey led by 3-0 in the opening set. Approaching 5-2, Nadal called on his winning spirit to fight back, and it was smooth sailing for the world number five from then on.

The fifth seed also remains unbeaten on clay in Europe this year, and will be meeting Joao Sousa, with Andy Murray potentially waiting in the semi-final.

Murray himself got through to the round of eight as he won against France’s Giles Simon with a similar score sheet to Nadal’s.

Murray, the second seed of the tournament, broke Simon for the first time to take the opening set as part of a five-game winning run. The Scotsman went ahead to break his opponent a further three times in the second set to complete victory in one hour, 38 minutes.

Liverpool eases into final after downing 10-man Villareal

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Liverpool eases into final after downing 10-man Villareal

Liverpool stood tall against the European dominance of Spanish teams by downing 10-man Villareal by three goals to nil in Anfield, thus going through to the Europa League final by 3-1 on aggregate.

Indeed, the Reds showed no nerves on their home ground in their effort to set up a final’s meet against Sevilla on May 18. Villareal’s only home goal did came as a late and nasty surprise in the first leg, but the boys at Anfield shrugged it off as it was nothing as the second leg kicks off.

Daniel Sturridge opens the scoreboard after being benched on the first leg. Within just 8 minutes after the game started, Roberto Firmino turned the ball back into a crowded six-yard box where Sturridge lurked. The Englishman struck but failed to connect cleanly, but the shot deflected off Roberto Soriano and went in.

Unhinged, Villreal still maintained their dangerous breaks play whenever they could but hardly threatened. Simon Mignolet did well to save from Mario Gasper and Jonathan Dos Santos, who blazed over when Cedric Bakambu’s run presented him with an excellent chance seconds before the opener.

But as Adam Lallana pressed relentlessly while Emre Can and James Milner dominate in central midfield just as Firmino provided a constant distraction, Liverpool were effectively in control of the entire game.

Still, the team was in need of a few more goals as the threat of an away goal looms. Then, Roberto Firmino passes a through ball to Sturridge, and the striker finished it off the inside of a post.

Firmino then went forward for Liverpool again, leaving Mateo Musacchio behind to set up Sturridge for a close range. But this time, Sturridge miscued, and Lallana picked it up to steer it home. Then, the night worsened for Villareal soon, as their defender Victor Ruiz was sent off for another yellow.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was plenty happy with the performance, asserting that they are not in want of quality.

“Wonderful night, brilliant game from my side. What a performance,” he said. “Everyone spoke a lot about this team before I came here. It was all about quality and not good transfers. I came here because I thought they had a nice squad and now we are in the final.”

Meanwhile, Sevilla sets up the meet by beating Shakhtar Donetsk to set up a final encounter against Liverpool. After a thrilling 2-2 first leg draw, they defeated the Ukraine team by 3-1 to advance.