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Murray up to new tricks

Briton shows off flair, advances at Wimbledon

Associated Press / June 25, 2011

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LONDON — Andy Murray has a new favorite between-the-legs trick shot.

He’s used it twice in recent weeks, including at Wimbledon yesterday against Ivan Ljubicic.

During the fourth set, Ljubicic hit a short ball, and the fourth-seeded Murray hopped in the air, brought his racket behind his back, and casually flicked a shot through his legs. The ball floated over the net and landed in for a cross-court winner.

It was nearly identical to a shot Murray hit during his victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final of the Queen’s Club grass-court tournament June 13.

“It’s just one of those things that you’re just in the right position. I tried it at Queen’s and I tried it a couple of times in practice since. I haven’t missed one yet. You look like a plonker’’ — a British term for “idiot’’ — “when you do, so I’m glad I made it,’’ Murray said. “It’s one of those shots that you don’t get a chance to try them very often and, luckily, I’ve pulled it off a couple times the last few weeks.’’

Murray beat Ljubicic, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), under the Centre Court roof to reach the fourth round. The Briton was erratic at the start and end of the match and dropped the second set against the unseeded Croat.

Murray picked up his game in the third set and when he led by a break in the fourth, he felt confident enough to flick the shot between his legs in the seventh game.

Because of rain, only two other third-round men’s matches were completed: No. 17 Richard Gasquet beat Simone Bolelli, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, and plays Murray next; and Feliciano Lopez upset No. 8 Andy Roddick, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.

Two of the top three women already are gone. No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, was eliminated by No. 32 Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-2, 6-3, less than 24 hours after No. 3 Li Na, the French Open champion, lost.

Pironkova reached the semifinals last year, when she upset five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, and they’ll have a rematch in the fourth round. Williams overpowered Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-0, 6-2.

Another past Wimbledon winner, Maria Sharapova, struggled at the start against 17-year-old Laura Robson of Britain before righting herself to win their second-round match, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki also won a delayed second-round match, as did 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli.