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Murray’s SW19 dream is brought to an early end

Straight-sets defeat snuffs out hope of bringing back the glory days


Sad end: Andy Murray tastes defeat. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Sad end: Andy Murray tastes defeat. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Getty Images

Sad end: Andy Murray tastes defeat. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon comeback ended in the third round with a straight-sets defeat to Denis Shapovalov.

By winning back-to-back matches at a Grand Slam for the first time since his hip problems started in 2017, the two-time Wimbledon champion had Centre Court dreaming of home glories once again.

But 10th seed Shapovalov was a step up from Nikoloz Basilashvili and Oscar Otte, and Murray was comfortably beaten 6-4 6-2 6-2 to complete a miserable day for British players on Centre following Dan Evans’ loss to Sebastian Korda.

That means Cameron Norrie, who takes on Roger Federer today, is once again flying the British flag solo for the men, with Emma Raducanu the only home woman left in the singles draw.

Shapovalov paid tribute to Murray, saying: “What he’s done nobody’s ever done and he’s an inspiration to lots of people, including me.

“I’m just trying to soak it all in. To play a match like that on Centre Court, I don’t think I could play any better.”

Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, admitted he was not at his best despite overcoming the latest bump in the road on his seemingly inexorable march towards the Wimbledon title with a straight-sets win over Denis Kudla.

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The World No.1 extended his winning streak in Grand Slams to 17 matches and took another step towards a sixth Wimbledon crown, the third leg of the calendar-year Grand Slam, and a record-equalling 20th Major title.

Djokovic can even still emulate Steffi Graf in 1988 when she won all four Grand Slams and gold at the Olympics — a feat yet to be repeated.

Not that this was an entirely straightforward win. The 34-year-old had described his second-round victory over Kevin Anderson as “flawless”, but he did not remotely hit those heights against American qualifier Kudla, a Tour journeyman ranked 114th. But some trademark resolute Djokovic defence, and some poor shot choices from Kudla, helped see the reigning champion through 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7).

Djokovic said: “Kudla fought well. He played well, I thought, from the beginning. Until the last game of the first set I thought we were pretty even.

“I won, I think, four games in a row, something like that, started playing better. I mixed it up.

“I had to slow down the pace in the game because he was really handling the ball well, the flat ball, from the back of the court. He has a really good balance. I think his backhand and forehand as well, pretty flat. He moves around pretty well on the surface. He’s a really good player.

“I, myself, from the other side, I can’t say that I’m too pleased with the way I performed. I felt like I was a bit off, especially with serving.”

Elsewhere, Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev needed almost three hours to defeat Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-2 to reach the fourth round.

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