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Andy Murray Sparks Wimbledon Hopes with Madrid Mastery

As the last winning point thudded home in Madrid and Andy Murray celebrated jubilantly with his close-knit team, the Scot achieved something he had never dream possible: beating the master, Rafael Nadal, in a clay court final.

Up until 2015, Murray – despite bagging an extensive collection of silverware in his career – had never won a tournament on clay before. And he had certainly never come close to beating perhaps the sport’s finest ever clay court specialist along the way.

It is his poor resume on the surface that led many pundits and bookmakers to write Murray off, and it’s possible that his success came as a surprise even to him.

So what has been the secret to this thrilling upturn in form?

Andy Murray

Wedded Bliss

Earlier this year, Murray was betrothed to his long-term partner Kim in a ceremony in his native Scotland.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that the world number four’s form has improved so markedly, as he also picked up the Munich Open title in April.

And after claiming that momentous win over Nadal in the Madrid Open, Murray was seen scrawling ‘marriage works’ in fluorescent green ink on a Spanish TV camera covering the action.

Let’s hope the honeymoon period carries over to June and the start of the grass court season.

Wimbledon Bound

Of course, just prior to the most famous tennis tournament of them all comes the French Open, one of four Grand Slam events in the calendar.

With his recent upturn in form on clay, Murray may well fancy his chances of progressing pretty deep into the tournament, although he won’t be amongst the bookmakers’ favourites – that honour will fall to the likes of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori.

Instead, the Scot and his team will be looking ahead to Wimbledon, the jewel in tennis’s crown on the famous grass of the All England Club.

And there is plenty of cause for optimism too: Murray has reached the quarter-finals – at the very least – of the tournament in his last seven visits.

In 2012, he looked on course for his Grand Slam win after taking the first set against Roger Federer, but would eventually succumb to the Swiss sensation.

However, he didn’t let that defeat get to him and returned the following year – once again battling through to the final. This time he took on his nemesis Djokovic, and in a surprisingly one-sided conclusion he took the title in straight sets; thus becoming the first Brit since Fred Perry in 1936 to lift tennis’s ultimate prize.

He suffered a painful loss to Grigor Dimitrov in 2014 following surgery to mend a long-standing back injury, and so in 2015 will be looking to make up for lost time.

And with his new wife watching on from the stands, who’s to say that Murray won’t lift the Wimbledon trophy for a second time.

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Wimbledon Women’s Semi-Finals Could not be more Different!

The two semi-finals for the 2013 Wimbledon championship looked as though they would be really close. With Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova expected to be the two ladies to reach the final, it was a big shock when they were both knocked out fairly early on in the competition. This left the doors open for many new faces to take advantage and that is exactly what happened. The semi-finals saw an exciting line up of four ladies who had never won Wimbledon.

The first semi-final was between Bartoli and Flipkens. Neither may have been tipped to win their quarter final, but it was still expected that their semi-final would be an exciting one. Bartoli has been in a Wimbledon final before but it was six years ago when she was beaten by Venus Williams. This experience must have helped her as she powered through her match and won 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour. The match was rather one sided and the crowd seemed disappointed.

Wimbledon Womens Semi-Finals

However, the second match on centre court was always highly anticipated and this was much more exciting. Lisicki played Radwanska and the crowd were not disappointed. It went to third set with both players battling hard to try to win. In the end Lisicki came through the victor, after a stumble in the second set and holding it all together in the last set which went to 9-7. She will be tired going in to the final, but she will have lots of confidence knowing that she managed to come through a very tough match and battle her nerves and drop in form to still be able to win. She did the same thing when she knocked out Serena Williams and so it will be interesting to see whether she can hold it together. Bartoli on the other hand seemed extremely laid back and even took a nap for half an hour just an hour before the match started to help her to relax, which certainly seemed to work!

Now bets are on as to who will win the final between Bartoli who has been there before and Lisicki who has not. It could be a very exciting match with both girls bound to be confident but also nervous. A lot of people will be tuning in on Saturday to find out which of these two women will be the new Wimbledon champion. Both have already achieved so much but who will it be that will get the ultimate prize? Visit FREEbets blog to find out more about where you can go to place a free bet on the game and then watch on Saturday to see whether your favourite wins.

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French Open Excitement Starts!

The draw for the French Open will take place on 24th May and then fans will be able to see which exciting matches will be taking place and when. Until then, there is time to have a think about who you want to place money on to win. Take a look at the French Open tennis odds from Paddy Power to see what the bookies think and then decide whether you agree with them or not. Why not place a bet as well, to make watching the games more fun?

Sadly No 2 in the World, Scotland’s Andy Murray will not be able to play due to a back injury that caused him to pull out of a recent tournament. He is hoping that he will be able to rest up and do his best to win Wimbledon in June on home soil. However, there will still be plenty of excitement in the men’s game at the French Open. Novak Djokovic will be working hard to hold on to his number one spot. However, he may have to beat Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer to win the trophy. There will also be hard competition from some of the other top ten placed men, Ferrer, Berdych, Del Potro, Tsonga and Gasquet, all of whom could be threatening on a good day.

Spain's Rafael Nadal serves to Italy's S

The women’s games could also be very exciting too. With two Britons, Laura Robson and Heather Watson in the top 100, there will be some exciting matches for the Brits to watch there. Hopefully the girls will do their country proud and progress through a couple of rounds. In the top end of the rankings, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka look like they may be fighting for the top spot. However, there will be some competition from Radwanska, Errani, Na, Kvita and Kerber. The women’s game is more open than it used to be and so there could be some surprises.

Doubles matches can also be fun in the big grand slam tournaments and with mixed doubles as well, there will certainly be a lot of great games to watch . So empty your diary from May 21 to June 9th so that you can settle in front of the television and enjoy one of the greatest tennis tournaments in the world. Even if you prefer Wimbledon, this will give you an idea of what to expect when the grass court season starts in June.