Andy Murray

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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.

Andy Murray losses to Thiem in Barcelona Open semifinals

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BARCELONA, Spain — World No. 1 Andy Murray lost to Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the Barcelona Open semifinals on Saturday.

Murray’s defeat came a week after he exited the third round at Monte Carlo. That loss prompted Murray to enter Barcelona to whip up some form for the French Open following a right elbow injury.

Nine-time winner Rafael Nadal played Horacio Zeballaos of Argentina in the other semifinal later Saturday.

Thiem started strong, breaking Murray’s first two service games before adding a third break en route to taking the first set.

The ninth-ranked Thiem had a break point in the second set, but Murray held serve and broke him back to even the match at a set apiece.

Murray was again in trouble at 4-2 down in the decisive set, and folded when he failed to successfully return Thiem’s deep lob on match point.

It was Thiem’s first win in three meetings against Murray.

Murray beats Ramos-Vinolas to reach Barcelona semifinals

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BARCELONA, Spain — Andy Murray came from behind to beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to reach the Barcelona Open semifinals on Friday.

Ramos-Vinolas had chances to beat Murray for the second straight time, but the top-ranked British player controlled the decisive points to close out the match in three hours.

The 19th-ranked Ramos-Vinolas eliminated Murray in the third round at the Monte Carlo Masters last week before eventually losing to Rafael Nadal in the final.

Murray will next face fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria, who defeated lucky loser Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-1, 6-2.

Murray comfortably won the final-set tiebreaker from a 4-0 lead, but he only got there after saving seven break points and converting all three he had against Ramos-Vinolas.

The Spaniard broke at 4-4 in the decisive set but failed to serve out the match. In the second set, Ramos-Vinolas squandered two break points at 3-3, and three at 4-4.

Losing to Ramos-Vinolas at Monte Carlo prompted Murray to enter Barcelona. He’s out to regain his form for the French Open following a right elbow injury.

Thiem was broken in the beginning of both sets but powered his way to victory against Sugita, who was coming off wins against Tommy Robredo, Richard Gasquet, and Pablo Carreno Busta.

“I knew he was in great shape after beating three great players before me,” Thiem said. “My game plan was to take him out of his comfort zone. I sliced a lot and tried to play with high spin.”

Thiem won the Rio de Janeiro title this year.