Around The Tour: Thompson, Hijikata advance as Murray retires

TWO Aussies are through to the quarter finals of the ATP 500 event in London, defeating their respective opponents in the Round of 16 overnight. Second highest ranked Aussie Jordan Thompson and qualifier Rinky Hijikata both advanced through to the last eight, though in very different circumstances.

Thompson was 4-1 up against local hero and wildcard Andy Murray before the Brit was forced to retire, while Hijikata stepped up across two tiebreakers to defeat Italian Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 7-6. Prior to Murray’s mid-match retirement, Thompson had only dropped two points on serve and broken the Grand Slam winner to race to the lead in just 23 minutes.

Unfortunately for Murray, he cited his back as the main cause for concern and said he could barely move on court.

“Obviously it wasn’t great. I have been struggling with my back for a while,” Murray said post-match. “I had loss of power in my right leg. So loss of motor control, had no coordination. Yeah, couldn’t move.”

It did not come as a huge surprise for the wildcard who had been carrying it through the tournament, but it had got far worse during the second round match.

“It was pretty sore in my match yesterday. Yeah, it was sore through today. But I was able to manage it. I wasn’t comfortable playing, but I was able to manage it,” Murray said. “During my pre-match warmup, I was pretty uncomfortable, and then I walked up the stairs just before going on the court, I didn’t have the usual, just normal strength in my right leg. It was not a usual feeling.

“I don’t know how many of you were watching, but the first two balls I hit in the warmup, my right leg, it was so uncoordinated. I had no coordination. Right leg just was not working properly.”

Thompson now advances to face American fourth seed Taylor Fritz in the quarter finals, while Hijikata will meet another American in Sebastian Korda who is coming off a finals appearance in the Libema Open last week.

Hijikata was rock solid against against the 35th Arnaldi to reach the last eight, winning 72 and 55 per cent of his first and second serves, while being able to step up when it counted. The first tiebreaker he won to love, while the second was far tougher, winning 9-7.

From the other results, Korda upset third seed Grigor Dimitrov in three sets 6-4 3-6 7-5, while Fritz ended Canadian Milos Raonic‘s run in a tight two-setter, 7-6 6-4.


ATP 500 | Terra Wortmann Open

A massive upset occured in Halle with Chinese representative Zhizhen Zhang taking out world number five, Daniil Medvedev in three sets. The 48th ranked Zhang won 6-3 2-6 7-6, winning the deciding set tiebreaker 7-5 in two hours and five minutes. He was joined in the quarter finals by second seed Alexander Zverev who defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 7-6.

Zhang will now take on American Christopher Eubanks who also knocked off a seed – seventh seed Alexander Bublik – while Zverev will face Frenchman Arthur Fils, fresh off a victory over another German in wildcard Dominik Koepfer.

WTA 500 | Berlin Ladies Open

Just two matches took place in Berlin in what was an interrupted day. In no surprises to anyone, experienced duo Victoria Azarenka and Ons Jabeur both won through over qualifiers, Zeynep Sonmez and Xinyu Wang in straight sets to reach the quarter finals and Round of 16 stage of the event respectively.

WTA 250 | Rothesay Classic

There was more Aussie joy in Birmingham with Ajla Tomljanovic coming from behind to run over the top of Lin Zhu in two hours and 35 minutes, 6-7 6-1 6-4. She will face US Open runner-up and sixth seed Leylah Fernandez in the last eight after the Canadian defeated Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic, 4-6 7-5 6-3. In other results, Russian seventh seed Anastasia Potapova defeated Italian Lucia Bronzetti 6-3 7-5, while Elisabetta Cocciaretto knocked off American wildcard Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-2.

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