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Andy Murray advances to third round at Madrid Open

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MADRID — Top-ranked Andy Murray made his debut at the Madrid Open with a comfortable 6-4, 6-3 win over wild card Marius Copil of Romania in the second round on Tuesday.

Murray broke serve once in each set and didn’t concede any break opportunities to the 104th-ranked Copil.

“When I started to control the points more towards the end of the first set and second set, I was hitting the ball pretty clean, creating a few chances,” Murray said. “I didn’t give him any opportunities. It was good for the first match.”

Murray won the Madrid title in 2008 and 2015 and was runner-up to Novak Djokovic last year. He improved to 11-0 in his opening matches in the Spanish capital, dating back to his debut in 2006.

The British player has been trying to regain his form after a difficult start to the year.

“I still think there’s a ways to go,” Murray said. “I don’t think I’m playing perfectly just now. I think there’s just things I can definitely do better.”

Eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria advanced to the third round by defeating Jared Donaldson of the United States 6-3, 6-4, while ninth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium had nine aces on his way to a 7-6 (3), 6-0 win over Florian Mayer of Germany, setting up a third-round match against either fifth-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada or Gilles Muller of Luxemburg, who defeated German Tommy Haas 6-4, 7-6 (7).

Ivo Karlovic of Croatia needed more than three hours to snap a five-match losing streak with a thrilling 7-6 (4), 6-7 (9), 7-6 (6) win over Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. The big-serving Karlovic had 35 aces and saved four match points in their second-round match.

American Ryan Harrison had 15 aces to defeat Australian Bernard Tomic 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, setting up a second-round encounter against 16th-seeded Nick Kyrgios of Australia.

Defending men’s champion Djokovic will debut against Nicolas Almagro of Spain on Wednesday. Four-time champion Rafael Nadal will play his opening match against Fabio Fognini on the same day.

In the women’s draw, third-seeded Simona Halep of Romania defeated Italian Roberta Vinci 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2), while 16th-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia beat Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-3, 7-5.

6-time champ Djokovic loses at Miami Open to Benoit Paire

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Novak Djokovic’s 16-match Key Biscayne winning streak ended, and his struggle to overcome a bothersome right elbow continued.

Djokovic lasted barely an hour at a tournament he has won six times, losing his opening match Friday in the Miami Open to Benoit Paire, 6-3, 6-4.

The defeat was Djokovic’s third in a row. He returned from a six-month injury absence at the Australian Open and lost in the fourth round, and was upset two weeks ago at Indian Wells by Taro Daniel, a 109th-ranked qualifier.

Against the 47th-ranked Paire, Djokovic dropped serve four times, returned poorly and had difficulty anticipating his crafty opponent’s drop shots.

In women’s play, Naomi Osaka’s breakthrough winning streak ended with a loss to No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-2. Osaka said began feeling ill before the match but didn’t want to retire after upsetting eight-time champion Serena Williams in the first round.

The 20-year-old Osaka is ranked a career-high 22nd and won her first career title last week at Indian Wells.

Djokovic sat out the last half of 2017 because of problems with his racket-swinging arm, saying it had been bothering him for more than a year. He was sidelined again after this year’s Australian Open and said he had a “small medical intervention” on his elbow.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion didn’t seem to favor it against Paire, but his shots lacked their usually snap and sometimes were awkwardly struck, including the last two on match point.

In the first set Djokovic served with a chance to reach 5-all, but from 40-0 he lost five consecutive points and the set. Another dismal stretch came when he was broken at love in the final game of the match.

The loss was Djokovic’s first at Key Biscayne since 2013. He missed last year’s Miami Open but won the title three consecutive years in 2014-16.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Top-ranked Halep wins tough 3-setter in Miami

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Top-ranked Simona Halep of Romania struggled to post a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 second-round win over French lucky loser Oceane Dodin at the Miami Open on Thursday.

In the first career meeting between the players, Halep allowed the 98th-ranked Dodin to break her serve on six of seven opportunities she presented in the match, which lasted more than two hours.

Halep broke Dodin’s serve for the seventh time at 4-4 in the third set before closing it out.

Halep played in her third career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January, but has yet to secure a Grand Slam trophy.

Halep’s best Miami Open was reaching the 2015 semifinals.

Also Thursday, former No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

Kerber is 19-4 this year and has reached at least the quarterfinals of all five tournaments she’s played.

Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open champion, won her first tournament since that U.S. Open at Sydney in January. She also reached the Australian Open semifinals.