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Murray still facing uphill fight to make Wimbledon


By Andy Sims

Andy Murray will make a final decision on whether he'll play at Wimbledon this morning ahead of the draw for the tournament.

Two-time champion Murray is expected to announce shortly before the draw if he feels fit enough to take part, having finally made his comeback from almost a year out injured over the last couple of weeks.

The 31-year-old Scot has played three matches, beating Stan Wawrinka while losing to Nick Kyrgios and Kyle Edmund, and must now decide whether his body is up to the rigours of a Grand Slam.

"I'm not sure," mum Judy Murray said. "He'll have to make his mind up today because they are making the draw tomorrow.

"He's dipped his toe in the water in the last couple of weeks to try and get some matches and see where his body is at.

"I guess it will depend on how he feels towards the end of the day, if he feels he is ready for five-set matches, so who knows?"

Edmund went down to a disappointing defeat by Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin in the Eastbourne quarter-finals.

Edmund, ranked 18th in the world, lost 7-5 3-6 1-6 to his 90th-ranked opponent at the Nature Valley International.

The 23-year-old struggled to gain any momentum against Kukushkin.

Earlier, British No.2 Cameron Norrie fell to a 6-3 6-4 defeat by Slovak Lukas Lacko.

Britain drew a blank at the Wimbledon qualifiers after last-man-standing James Ward bowed out, beaten in four sets by Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.

Ward's defeat meant that of the 15 British men and women to compete at Roehampton this year, none made it through to the main draw.

It is the first time in three years that not a single home-grown player came through the qualifying tournament.

Instead Britain's entrants at SW19 will be Murray - if fit - Edmund, Cameron Norrie, Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and wild cards Jay Clarke, Liam Broady, Naomi Broady, Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, Katy Dunne, Katie Swan and Gabriella Taylor.

Ward, who is trying to work his way back up the rankings after two years of knee problems - he is currently ranked 362nd having been as high as 89th - broke Bonzi in the first game of the match.

Yet Bonzi quickly redressed the balance and reeled off the first two sets before Ward, a Davis Cup winner in 2015, rallied to take the third.

However, that was as good as it got for the 31-year-old, who was eventually beaten 4-6 2-6 6-1 0-6 by the World No.198 and missed out on a £39,000 pay day.

Among the other casualties in sunny south west London was former World No.17 Bernard Tomic.

Not for the first time the controversial Australian departed limply from a tournament, going down 3-6 1-6 2-6 to Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans.

Former Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard successfully negotiated the qualifying draw, beating Colombian Mariana Duque-Marino 6-3 6-2 to secure a spot in next week's main draw for the second Grand Slam of the season.

Ranked 191st, the Canadian had to run the gauntlet of Roehampton and, after winning two rounds, held her nerve against Duque-Marino, who had narrowly missed automatic Wimbledon entry.

"I was a really solid today, I was a little nervous before," 24-year-old Bouchard said.

"I feel like I've earned (my main draw place) more than just being in by ranking, so I'm proud of it.

"I got matches this week which is what I wanted because I've not played a lot, I've been injured, so that was the goal."

Roehampton's wide expanses of playing fields are a far cry from the glamorous All England Club, where Bouchard played Petra Kvitova in a Centre Court final in 2014.

Bouchard, who also reached the Australian and French semis that year, rising to No.5 in the world, will now head to Wimbledon with confidence restored.

Aryna Sabalenka stunned defending champion and former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova to reach the semi-finals at Eastbourne.

Seventh-ranked Pliskova fell 3-6 6-2 6-7 (5-7) to the Belarusian at the Nature Valley International.

World No.45 Sabalenka trailed 1-4 in the final set but rallied, hitting a total of 40 winners to secure victory.

Meanwhile, top seed Caroline Wozniacki registered a straightforward 6-4 6-3 victory over Australia's Ashleigh Barty in her match.

Belfast Telegraph

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