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Murray splits from coach Mauresmo

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Andy Murray split with coach Amelie Mauresmo on Monday, ending a groundbreaking two-year relationship during which the British star improved as a clay-court player but failed to add to his collection of Grand Slam titles.

A statement released by Murray’s management company didn’t disclose the reason behind the decision, although Mauresmo said “dedicating enough time along with the travel has been a challenge for me.”

The Frenchwoman gave birth to her first child in August and took six months off from coaching.

“Working with Andy over the last two years has been a fantastic experience for me,” said Mauresmo, a former top-ranked player who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of the great team of people he has around him.”

Murray became the first high-profile tennis player to hire a woman as a coach when he brought Mauresmo on board in June 2014.

By that time, he was already a two-time Grand Slam champion – at the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 – and had also won a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

Under Mauresmo, Murray reached the final at the Australian Open in 2015 and `16, losing both times to top-ranked Novak Djokovic. He won his first clay-court titles last year in Munich and Madrid.

“I’ve learned a lot from Amelie over the last two years, both on and off the court,” Murray said in the statement. “She’s been a calming influence in the team and we will all miss having her around.”

Murray is heading into a busy period of the season, with the French Open, Wimbledon, Rio de Janiero Olympics and U.S. Open all in the next four months.

“I’ll take some time to consider the next steps and how we progress from here,” Murray said, “but I’d like to thank her for everything she has done, she’s been an invaluable member of the team.”

Venus ready for return WTA Finals

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SINGAPORE (AP) Venus Williams returns to the year-end WTA Finals for the first time since reaching the 2009 final, and the fifth time overall, starting on Sunday in Singapore.

Williams joins top-ranked Simona Halep of Romania, second-ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain, third-ranked Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic, fourth-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, sixth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, seventh-ranked Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and ninth-ranked Caroline Garcia of France.

They’re all pretty special,” said Williams, of her career appearances in the year-end competition. “It’s the end of the year. Only Top 8 get here. It’s definitely something well earned.”

At 37-years-old, Williams is the third oldest player to qualify for the year-end championships behind a 39-year-old Billie Jean King in 1983, and a 38-year-old Martina Navratilova in 1994.

Williams is the oldest player in this draw with 27-year-old Wozniacki the next oldest.

Having played since 1995, Williams has seen the women’s game advance, saying: “The competition is so much greater. It’s a beautiful change, in fact.”

In 2008, Williams won the WTA Finals title, going 3-0 in the round-robin, and defeating Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the final.

She was also was a semifinalist in her first two appearances in the finals, in 1999 and 2000.

Williams reached two Grand Slam finals this season at the Australian Open, where she lost to what turned out to be an already pregnant younger sister, Serena, and at Wimbledon, where she fell to Muguruza.

Every player but Garcia has a possibility of playing themselves into the year-end No. 1 ranking depending on their result this week. Williams has ranked No. 1 for 11 weeks of her career.

In the round-robin, Williams is situated in the White Group with fellow big-hitters Muguruza and Pliskova, who both ranked No. 1 at some time during this season, and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Williams opens the competition against Pliskova on Sunday. The two are tied at one match apiece in their head-to-head.

She holds a 3-2 winning record over Muguruza and is 1-0 over Ostapenko.

“I think my group is more aggressive style players in the group and the other one is more defending,” Pliskova said. “I just like to play better these players.

“I start with Venus tomorrow, so I beat her once from match point and once I lost very close match. This one is open.”

Goerges ends 6-year title wait with victory at Kremlin Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) Julia Goerges ended her six-year wait for another WTA singles title Saturday with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Daria Kasatkina in the Kremlin Cup final.

Goerges cruised to victory against her Russian opponent, who was ranked one place below her at 28th.

The German swept the first five games of the first set before Kasatkina could even get on the board.

Kasatkina put up more resistance at the start of the second, forcing three break points in Goerges’ first service game, but couldn’t convert them and was broken next game.

Goerges is now 3-7 in career singles finals, with her last title in Stuttgart in 2011. Before Saturday’s match, she had lost six straight finals, including three in the space of two months this summer.