Smooth Sailing for Andy Murray in Shanghai Masters

Published by:

15th

Respecful: Murray showing sportsman behavior after what was an easy win.

Great Britain’s tennis hero Andy Murray secured a comfortable win over America’s Steve Johnson in an opening match of the Shanghai Masters event.

Murray, 28, had won the match with a distinct margin of 6-2, 6-4.

Although the world number two had dropped serve in the first game of the match he was rarely troubled by the Johnson in his first outing since GB’s Davis Cup semi-final victory over Australia on 20 September.

He will be going up against John Isner, another American in the third round.

Isner’s 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory over Belgian David Goffin prevented a dress-rehearsal meeting between the world number 16 and Murray before next month’s Davis Cup final.

World number one Novak Djokovic also reached round three, beating Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 6-2 6-1.

Rafael Nadal also made it through but had a much tougher time.

It took Nadal two hours and 43 minutes to overcome Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4).

Looking ahead to facing Isner, Murray told Sky Sports: “I think he quite likes the conditions here because it’s quick and he’s a tough guy to play against.”

After starting slowly against Johnson, Murray broke the American’s serve three times to claim the first set.

The Scot encountered greater resistance in the second set and two double faults in a row helped gift Johnson two break points at 3-3. But a precise drop volley allowed Murray to see off the danger.

With Johnson serving at 4-5, a lob set up three match points and Murray clinched it at the second opportunity when the American sent a forehand long after one hour and 16 minutes.

Celebrations as Bale leads Wales into Euro

Published by:

12oct4

Gareth Bale’s vital goal against Belgium boosted Wales’s world rankings and into Euro 2016.

Even as they lose to Bosnia, Wales has reason to celebrate as they climb up the world rankings and into Euro 2016.

Wales will end a 58-year absence from a major championship next summer after progressing from the qualifiers despite Saturday’s loss to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Nonetheless the 2-0 defeat by Bosnia ended Wales’ unbeaten run in Group B, and was their first defeat in 11 competitive matches.

Gareth Bale: Wales qualification may top Champions League win.

“This is right up there to be honest, if not above it,” said Bale, a European Cup winner with Real Madrid in 2014.

“Everyone knows how important Wales is to me and how proud we are to all play for our country.”

Bale has played a crucial role in Wales’ Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, scoring six and and assisting two of his side’s nine goals.

“This will probably go down as the best loss in my career. It’s obviously something we’ve been working hard for since I started and credit to all the boys, all the staff and all the fans – it’s a moment to enjoy.

“Now we’ve done it, no matter what way it was, we’ve crossed the line and we’re going to enjoy the occasion.”

Cardiff is ready to party

With their place in France for the 24-team tournament assured, Wales can now look ahead to a party atmosphere in front of a full house at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night.

The final match of the campaign against point-less Andorra was always a significant insurance policy should results go against them.

Manager Chris Coleman says the occasion has given him a few difficult selection decisions to make, and Bale insisted he wants to be involved despite only just returning from a calf injury.

“I hadn’t played for three to four weeks, I had 20 minutes on the weekend which isn’t really much,” he said after playing 90 minutes against Bosnia.

“It’s good to get some minutes and this [game] will help and I’ll be saying to the gaffer I want to be playing on Tuesday.”

12oct6

Reason to celebrate: Wales will be having a party in Cardiff after their final qualifying match against Andorra.

NBA pre-Season: Bulls beat Timberwolves, 114-105

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12oct3

Timberwolves Dieng makes a dunk as Bulls’ players looks on.

The Bulls returned to their free flowing game on Saturday with in an entertaining 114-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Winnipeg, Canada.

The Bulls led from the start with a 34-16 first quarter and were never really threatened in moving to 2-1 in the preseason. E’Twaun Moore off the bench led the Bulls with 18 points.

Doug McDermott continued his excellent preseason shooting with 16 points and four of seven threes. Overall, the Bulls were 16-36 on threes.

Kirk Hinrich added 13 points. The Bulls had 30 assists on 42 baskets and shot 49 percent overall. The Bulls return to the United Center Monday to play New Orleans.

The Bulls rested Joakim Noah after his hard fall Thursday against Denver, though his minor injury wasn’t serious. Derrick Rose, Mike Dunleavy and Taj Gibson remained out.

Pau Gasol got his first preseason start and opened with Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich.

Coach Fred Hoiberg made a point after the Denver loss about a lack of ball movement.

The Bulls responded immediately with less dribbling, both working the ball around the perimeter and driving, kicking out and then executing the extra pass. It produced a 34-16 first quarter lead highlighted by back to back threes from Mirotic.

Then Doug McDermott, leading the team in preseason scoring coming into the game, found his three-point range with four of four first half three pointers for 14 points in 10 minutes and a 65-55 Bulls halftime lead.

Though the Bulls led by 22 earlier in the second quarter. The Bulls were 11-19 on first half threes with 17 assists on 21 baskets.

Gasol sat the second half and Kirk Hinrich entered the three jamboree with a pair of early third quarter threes as the Bulls again surged ahead, this time by 17 before the Timberwolves got within 89-77 after three quarters.

Djokovic Thrashes Nadal in China Open Final

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12oct

Djokovic defeats Nadal yet again to secure his sixth China Open Title.

World number one Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in a ruthlessly with a score of 6-2 6-2 to win his sixth ATP China Open title.

Nadal, 29, in his sixth singles final of 2015, missed a chance to break Djokovic at 3-2 in the opening set to level the match in Beijing.

With a fightback not materialising and the Spaniard requiring treatment on his right foot at 1-1 in the second set, the 28-year-old Serb won comfortably.

Djokovic, who won his eighth title of the year in 90 minutes, said Beijing had “definitely been the most successful tournament so far in my career”.

“The fans give me reason to come back every year.”

Nadal, who saved two championship points, said the top seed was “having one of the most memorable seasons in the history of our sport”.

Of his recent own dip in form, Nadal added: “I have been improving in every single match. All matches are good practice for me. It’s good energy for starting next season stronger.”

Meanwhile, Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza beat Timea Bacsinszky in the WTA final.

In the women’s singles final in Beijing, 22-year-old Muguruza of Spain won 7-5 6-4 in a hard-fought victory for her second WTA title.

“It’s amazing, and I can’t wait to come back and defend my title next year,” she said at the trophy presentation of her biggest title to date.

The victory will moves Muguruza up to fourth in the world rankings which will be released on Monday.

12oct2

Muguruza’s victory moves her to fourth place in the Women’s Single world rankings.