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from Left field:

Murray makes good on rankings goal with Asian hat-trick

The end of season for the top players can be a tough time because of fatigue; all their work is based around peaking for the slams. With Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both out of action (neither have played since the last Davis cup tie) the top two seeds were Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray for the Shanghai Masters Series.

Murray has been playing really well having won in Thailand and Tokyo leading into the Shanghai event. Murray has made a concerted effort to play more aggressively, also the courts are faster and so it actually forces him to play more aggressively which is a good thing.

Nadal on the other hand looked a bit flat in Shanghai and lost to world number 23 Florian Mayer in the third round. It is a match Nadal would not have lost at the beginning of the year; it’s not unusual at this time of year to see Nadal a bit flat. I believe he needs to get some rest and try to recover to have a chance to get back to world number one next year. I am not expecting much from Nadal for the rest of the year but his competitive personality will mean that he will do his best regardless.

Murray on the other hand is looking sharp, once Nadal fell out of the draw he became the heavy favourite to win Shanghai. For the players outside of the top 10 in the world this is a good time to get their ranking up – especially if you are fresh and motivated.

from Left field:

Mercury rises on Wimbledon’s ‘Manic Monday’

A record crowd for a Wimbledon second Monday witnessed some breathtaking tennis while finding the time to take onboard plenty of liquids as temperatures soared in London.

The Williams sisters found the going tough and their so far impressive comebacks hit the buffers, while women's number one Caroline Wozniacki's route to a first grand slam title also came unstuck, but in the men's draw there were no real dramas as the top four all hit their straps and made the quarters.

from Left field:

Holding court with Greg Rusedski

Wimbledon 2010 has been a great Championships, the weather for the two weeks has been absolutely perfect. Sun and more sun, not a drop of rain, the first time since 1995. They should have built that 40 million pound roof sooner! There were a lot of question marks going into this Wimbledon Championships for Andy Murray but fortunately for him he had a dream draw and took advantage in the first week to play himself into form.

For me though, the match of the tournament and the first week was John Isner versus Nicolas Mahut. I asked the BBC to schedule me on a short match so I could watch the all important England vs Slovenia qualifying match for the knockout stage of the Football World Cup. They said “No problem, we’ll put you on the Isner/Mahut match, they only have one set to finish”. So off I went with a rookie tennis commentator by the name off Ronald MacIntosh to finish the match he had started the day before. I joked that the outcome would be 27/25 in the final set to Isner, 8 hours 30 minutes later, over two days; I had been part of tennis history. We broke all records; longest match, longest set, most games ever played, most aces, longest match ever commentated on etc etc. It finished 70/68 in the 5th set for John Isner. This is a record which will never be broken. So much for watching the football, England did go on to win 1-0 though.

from Left field:

Federer beats Murray in Australian Open final — how it happened

Roger Federer's stunning victory over Andy Murray ... as it happened.

from Left field:

Can Murray end Britain’s 74-year wait?

TENNIS-OPEN/Is there a more notorious and oft-bemoaned sporting drought than Britain ’s long – and very far from tantalising – wait for a men’s grand slam tennis champion?

In the week the New Orleans Saints finally threatened to shed their unofficial moniker of The Aints because of their lack of Super Bowl success, Andy Murray is doing his level best to get the biggest monkey in world tennis off his back.

from Left field:

Expect Federer v Murray to decide US Open again

federermurrayThe final grand slam tournament of the year, which begins on Monday at Flushing Meadows, will welcome the world's two highest ranked players in intimidating form.

Two Masters tournaments, the level below a grand slam, have been played this month with Murray triumphing in Montreal and Federer in Cincinnati

from Left field:

Roddick gatecrashes Murray’s Wimbledon party

roddickThe build-up to Friday's second Wimbledon semi-final was all about Briton Andy Murray but the man of the hour was the fearless American Andy Roddick.

Sat on a packed and sunny Centre Court, the prospect of Murray's party being gate-crashed did not take long to dawn on a crowd who did not seem sure who they should be cheering for.

from Left field:

Murraymania keeps on building … but Andy’s unimpressed

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Andy Murray's brutal straight sets victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero took him through to the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the first time in his career on Wednesday but while the centre court fans and the Henman Hill mob did their Mexican waves one man was singularly unimpressed by the Murraymania.

Murray himself is doing his best to let the media frenzy pass him by. He may have received notes of encouragement from the Queen, Sean Connery and Cliff Richard, and he knows he will be all over the front and back pages of the newspapers again on Thursday, but to say the Scot is staying cool would be a massive understatement. Here's what he said after the 7-5 6-3 6-2 win over Ferrero:

from Commentaries:

Will Murray success at Wimbledon be RBS’s best return?

Royal Bank of Scotland is not best known for backing winners.

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So the Scottish bank must be savouring Andy Murray's run at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

World number three Murray is one of the "sports personalities of present and past" sponsored by RBS during the heady days of Sir Fred Goodwin.

Should banks sponsor sports stars?

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A bit like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas, parliamentarian John Mann has called on the likes of tennis player Andy Murray, equestrian star Zara Phillips and motor racing great Sir Jackie Stewart to scrap their sponsorship contracts with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Bleeding red all over its accounts and shedding thousands of jobs, the struggling Scottish bank has been heavily criticised for doling out bonus payments to staff despite receiving billions of pounds of state aid.

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