French Open: Murray inspired by fight from Federer, who says 'the feeling is mutual'

By Sports Desk June 06, 2021

Roger Federer returned a compliment to Andy Murray and looked ahead to a potential grass-court meeting the morning after a gruelling third-round win at Roland Garros.

Federer made round four at the French Open but was so drained by the experience that he suggested he could yet withdraw from the tournament as he looks to build up fitness ahead of Wimbledon.

The Swiss superstar entered the clay-court major with a 1-2 record for the year, most recently losing to Pablo Andujar in Geneva last month.

However, Federer has strung together three straight wins in Paris, beating Dominik Koepfer in the last 32 in a match that finished in the early hours of Sunday in the French capital.

The match started at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT), in line with a coronavirus-enforced curfew that ensured the stands were empty on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Despite the strange experience and a determined opponent, Federer came through in four sets after three tie-breaks to continue his pursuit of a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

During the match, which finished at close to 01:00 local time (00:00 GMT), fellow great Murray posted on Twitter: "I'm not bothered by the outcome of this match at all.

"Just seeing Federer at 39 off the back of two knee surgeries playing to an empty stadium at 12:30am getting fired up is inspirational to me. Do what you [love]."

Murray himself has overcome a series of major injuries to remain on the ATP Tour, even backtracking on a retirement pledge in 2019.

So, Federer replied on Sunday: "Thank you Sir Andy, the feeling is mutual. You gotta love it. See you on the [grass]."

There was no further comment on potentially quitting the French Open, where Federer is appearing for only the second time since the start of 2016 – he made the semi-finals two years ago.

His sublime major form has slowed over the past decade, making only nine finals compared to 22 in the previous 10 years.

If Federer is able to continue, he faces a tough ask on Monday, taking on Matteo Berrettini, who has become the first Italian to reach the last 16 of all four slams in the Open Era.

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  • Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park

    Newcastle United's new era started with a familiar feeling of disappointment as Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners at St James' Park, with Sunday's match marred by a medical emergency in the stands.

    With the pre-match build up dominated by Newcastle's off-field changes, the club's new PIF owners were served up a stark reminder of the issues on the pitch as Steve Bruce's 1000th game as a manager ended in defeat.

    Callum Wilson's second-minute header buoyed an already rampant home crowd, but Tottenham hit back through Tanguy Ndombele before Harry Kane scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

    A fan was taken to hospital after an incident late in the first half, which led to a defibrillator being called for and the suspension of play. When it restarted, Kane turned provider for Son Heung-min.

    Jonjo Shelvey's red card seemed to erase any Newcastle hopes, only for Eric Dier's late own goal to worry Spurs, but it was ultimately not enough to inspire a comeback.

    Newcastle's pre-match elation swiftly carried onto the pitch. Only one minute and 47 seconds had passed when Wilson got ahead of his marker to head in Javier Manquillo's cross.

    Yet a blistering following 10 minutes failed to produce another Newcastle goal and, after Lucas Moura fired a warning shot, Spurs drew level through Ndombele's superb, curling strike into the right-hand side of the goal.

    Spurs' turnaround was complete five minutes later as Kane darted onto Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's lofted pass and finished deftly over Darlow. The goal was initially disallowed for offside, but VAR spotted Manquillo's failure to step up in time.

    Lucas rattled the woodwork as Spurs searched for a third, though play was then suspended due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

    Spurs picked up where they left off following a long delay – Kane squaring for Son to make it 3-1.

    Devoid of ideas going forward, Newcastle's day turned from bad to worse in the 83rd minute.

    Shelvey, brought on as a 60th-minute substitute, brought down Sergio Reguilon, duly receiving his second yellow card.

    Newcastle were handed hope by Dier bundling into his own net, though Spurs held firm to condemn their hosts to another damaging defeat.


    What does it mean? Champions League? It’s the Championship that Newcastle need to worry about

    There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, but many fans have been left dreaming of what their club can achieve with such wealth at their disposal.

    However, talk of mega-money deals for global superstars must now make way for the bleak reality Newcastle face. They sit 19th, without a win to their name and only a point above Norwich City. It may be early in the campaign, but the focus come January has to be retaining the club's Premier League status. 

    Harry gets off the mark at his happy hunting ground

    Kane's misfortunes have become a major talking point in recent weeks, with last season's golden boot winner far from his best since his failed move to Manchester City.

    But he finally opened his league account for the campaign on Sunday, before then combining with his partner in crime Son. Six of Kane's seven top-flight goals for Spurs against Newcastle have come at St James' Park. He has only scored more away goals against Leicester City and Everton.

    Time up for Bruce?

    Bruce hit out at the media in his pre-match news conference, after numerous stories of his impending dismissal proved to be untrue. Yet on his milestone game as a manager, Bruce's deficiencies were there for all to see. Newcastle started brilliantly, but in the final 10 minutes, a chorus of "sacked in the morning" echoed around the stadium. It was not exactly clear which sets of supporters were responsible.

    His record stands at W376, D254, L370, while Bruce has won just four of his 27 encounters with Spurs in all competitions, and the speculation over his future seems set to continue as Newcastle's new owners assess the state of play.

    What's next?

    Newcastle face another London team in the form of an away game at Crystal Palace next Saturday, while Spurs travel to the Netherlands to play Vitesse in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

  • Nagelsmann feels Bayern deserved even more goals in thumping Leverkusen win Nagelsmann feels Bayern deserved even more goals in thumping Leverkusen win

    Julian Nagelsmann was pleased with Bayern Munich's display in their 5-1 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen but felt his side should have added even more goals to their tally.

    The reigning champions responded to their first defeat of Nagelsmann's tenure two weeks ago against Eintracht Frankfurt with a superb attacking display at BayArena on Sunday.

    Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry each scored a first-half double and Thomas Muller was also on target in between those braces, all in the space of 37 minutes.

    It marked the first time Bayern have scored five goals away from home in the first half of a Bundesliga match as they reclaimed top spot from Borussia Dortmund.

    Bayern also hit the post through Leroy Sane, whose eight shots was the most of any player in a game this campaign in the German top flight.

    And with Patrik Schick getting a consolation for Leverkusen in the second half, Nagelsmann does not believe the scoreline was a true reflection come full-time.

    "We had an incredible number of closing situations and an outstanding structure," he told DAZN. 

    "It sounds strange at 5-0, but we also had a chance of scoring sixth, seventh and eighth goals in the first half. We could have scored more.

    "The second half was more calm and that's completely normal from both teams' point of view. 

    "A lot of things we didn't do well against Frankfurt worked out today. In the end we are very happy to win the game."

    Only twice before in Bundesliga history has an away side scored five goals in a quicker time from kick-off – Dortmund against Schalke (23 minutes) and Karlsruhe versus Frankfurt (30 minutes), both in 1964.

    There have been 10 occasions when teams have scored five or more goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game this century, with Bayern responsible for six of those 45-minute thrashings, including when they put five past Dortmund before the break in March 2018 on the way to a 6-0 win.

    Leverkusen are no strangers to one-sided first halves, meanwhile, as they are the only team to have scored six goals in the opening 45 minutes of a match in the division since the turn of the millennium, doing so in their 6-1 win over Frankfurt in 2018-19.

    "It was a terrible beginning," Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky added. "We have to ask ourselves whether we gave it our all. There was something missing from everyone today."

    Lewandowski's two goals came from three shots as the Poland international brought an end to his mini drought.

    His run of scoring in 15 successive league games was ended prior to the international break when failing to net against Greuther Furth and then Frankfurt, before also going scoreless in Poland's double-header of October fixtures.

    The 33-year-old has now scored two or more goals in 73 different Bundesliga games – a tally bettered only by late Bayern great Gerd Muller (87) – and was happy to joke about his short-lived scoreless run after getting back on the scoresheet.

    "Four games without a goal... which four games? Do you mean training? I scored in the Champions League game before the Frankfurt match," Lewandowski pointed out.

    "Personally, I'm happy when people ask when I'll score my next goal. That shows what expectations they have of me.

    "Sometimes there are phases when the ball doesn't fall to you, you have to be patient. Today it worked out twice.

    "We scored five goals in 45 minutes. At the break it was clear we would take all three points with us to Munich. We can be satisfied with the performance."

    The 29 goals scored by Bayern in their opening eight Bundesliga matches equals their previous highest tally at this stage in a campaign from the 1976-77 season.

  • Bayer Leverkusen 1-5 Bayern Munich: Nagelsmann's side turn on the style to reclaim top spot Bayer Leverkusen 1-5 Bayern Munich: Nagelsmann's side turn on the style to reclaim top spot

    Bayern Munich helped themselves to five first-half goals as they thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the Bundesliga.

    The reigning champions suffered their first defeat of Julian Nagelsmann's tenure last time out, but they responded in the best way imaginable at BayArena.

    Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry helped themselves to a couple of goals each in a one-way first half, with Thomas Muller registering in between those doubles.

    Leverkusen were level on points with Bayern before kick-off and pulled one back through Patrik Schick, but Nagelsmann's side were able to cruise through the rest of the match to overtake Borussia Dortmund at the summit.

    The hosts had won their previous five matches in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet in the last three of those, but it took Lewandowski just three minutes to backheel Dayot Upamecano's centre past Lukas Hradecky.

    Bayern went on to lose after opening the scoring against Frankfurt, but there was no sign of that happening against Leverkusen. Shortly after Leroy Sane sent a shot against the right post, Lewandowski lashed home a second of the game on the half-hour.

    That was the first of four goals in seven minutes, with Muller in the right place to deflect in a Niklas Sule shot before setting up Gnabry to score. Gnabry then joined Lewandowski in bagging a brace with a shot into the bottom-left corner.

    The visitors had kept a clean sheet in only one of their last nine league games, however, and that poor defensive record was extended when Schick latched onto Florian Wirtz's throughball and arrowed a shot past Manuel Neuer in the 55th minute.

    Sane squandered a couple of good opportunities to get in on the act, including a header over the bar from close range, while a disallowed Lucas Alario goal for offside was the closest Leverkusen went to further reducing the deficit.

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