Olympic24: Murray marches on, GB curlers back on track

17 March 2015 / 07:55

Andy Murray moves into last 16 at Indian Wells while Eve Muirhead oversees two victories on day three of Women's World Curling Championships. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Fourth seed Andy Murray beats Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 at BNP Paribas Open
  • Murray moves onto 495 career wins, one short of Tim Henman's Open-era record for a British man 
  • Eve Muirhead's rink back in play-off contention in joint fifth
  • GB short track speed skating performance director Stuart Horsepool happy with progress towards Pyeongchang
  • Fierce battle for GB selection at World Taekwondo Championships
  • Kieron Achara pleased to see younger GB basketball players gaining experience
  • Chris Walker-Hebborn awarded European backstroke silver after doping ban for Vitaly Melnikov   

Murray books last 16 spot at Indian Wells

Andy Murray booked his place in the last 16 at Indian Wells with a three-set victory over Germany’s Philipp Kohlscreiber.

The British number one had raced through the first set in just 25 minutes but the German found his form to force a decider.

But Murray, who has not been past the quarter-final in this event since 2009, hit back to close out the game in one hour and 51 minutes.

"I felt like in the first set I dictated a lot of the rallies,” said Murray, who will now face Frenchman and world number 38 Adrian Mannarino.

“In the middle of the second set I had an opportunity with a break point and played a slightly tentative point. He gained a bit of confidence from that.

He's (Adrian Mannarino) improved a lot over the last 18 months or so.

"He's had a couple of good wins here. He's talented, lefty, a Frenchman. Most of the French players have a bit of flair on the court. I'll have to play well to beat him because he's got a bit of confidence right now."

Muirhead pleased to be back in the mix

Eve Muirhead is hoping for more of the same after Scotland recorded two victories on day three of the Women's World Curling Championships in Sapporo, Japan.

Scotland kicked off their day by getting back to winning ways with a 9-2 victory over USA in just six ends.

But Muirhead and co were far from done and returned to the Japanese ice to take on Norway, the score level at 2-2 after two ends.

The Scots then led 6-2 at half-time and, while Norway scored two in the sixth end, Muirhead nudged her rink ahead with a double in the eighth.

A nose-hit by Norway gave them another two shots in the ninth, but the Scots finally took out one of two Norwegian stones in the house with the last stone of the tenth end to win 8-7.

Scotland now have three wins overall and with four teams tied at the top on four wins, the Scots are back in Play-off contact in joint fifth-place with China and Germany – much to Muirhead's delight.

"It's been a really good day. We knew we had to come out and get two wins today and it's satisfying that we did. We're pleased, we played well," she said.

"The ice changed a wee bit out there, but it keeps you on your toes. We're all working well together.

"We're right back in the mix. There's a lot of teams around us, but first things first – we had to get two wins today, the same as every day from now on."

Horsepool looking forwards after successful season finale

Performance director Stuart Horsepool believes Great Britain's short track speed skaters are right on track for Pyeongchang 2018 after rounding off their season at the World Championships in Moscow this weekend.

Sochi 2014 Olympian Elise Christie stole the headlines for the team in Russia when she became the first female Brit to win two medals at World Championship level by taking silver in the 500m and 1000m.

But it was not just Christie who put in solid performances in the British camp with Charlotte Gilmartin making the B final of the 1500m final, while Jack Whelbourne reached the semi-final of the 1000m.

The men's relay team, made up of Whelbourne, Jon Eley, Richard Shoebridge and Billy Simms, also took second place in the 5000m B final on Sunday to finish sixth overall.

"It's been a fantastic World Championships this year and a superb end to the season for the senior team," said Horsepool.

"I'm really pleased with how well we did overall as a team – everyone skated well in the individual events and the relay, and we've met all our targets for the season.

"It's not just about what we do now; it's also about what we can do in the future. We're now three seasons away from PyeongChang 2018 and based on this season's performances, I think everyone is on track.

"The whole squad have become progressively better this season, which is really important. We need to stay focused and work hard to continue achieving results with the younger skaters in the programme, whilst also bringing good skaters through the system."

Tough decisions ahead of GB Taekwondo performance director

Great Britain Taekwondo performance director Gary Hall insists he is more than happy to have some tough decisions to make ahead of the World Championships in Russia.

This weekend’s Dutch Open was the final event before the World Championships get underway, and Great Britain's athletes certainly made the most of the last chance to gear up for the trip to Russia.

Olympic champion Jade Jones, Damon Sansum and world junior champion Lauren Williams all struck gold, while teenager Josh Callard picked up silver.

Hall will now sit down this week with the GB selectors to pick a squad for the World Championships in Chelyabinsk, from May 12-18.

And after failing to win a medal at the 2013 edition in Puebla, Mexico, Hall is optimistic his squad can hit the heights of 2011 when Sarah Stevenson struck gold as part of a four medal haul.

"We have a tough selection to make but it will be tough for the right reasons," said Hall. "We will select the best team possible to try to achieve our medal targets. The sad thing is we can only select one athlete per event.

"But we have got more than a couple of athletes in some categories who could go out to Russia to do a job and get a medal.

"So, there will be some tough calls but the right kind of tough calls. However, it is really encouraging we are getting this strength in depth with the squad now."

Achara looking for younger players to step up

London 2012 Olympian Kieron Achara believes the experience currently being gained by the team's younger players around the world will only be a good thing for Great Britain basketball going forward.

Achara has been one of GB's most consistent performers since making his debut in 2008 and was part of the side which competed at the London Olympic Games.

Last summer was not such a highlight though with the team failing to make it through qualification for this summer’s EuroBasket tournament.

But Achara feels the experience will prove to be a useful learning curve, especially for the younger players in the squad.

"Obviously we had a weaker squad during the summer when compared to previous years, when you look back to the Olympic squad,” said the 31-year-old.

"But at the same time, we have the likes of Ben Mockford coming straight out of college and getting the opportunity to play against a great team like Bosnia and going off in the last game.

"It's good for the future. Myles Hesson is playing some great basketball right now, Ashley Hamilton is doing a great job in the Ukraine, I see Matthew Bryan-Amaning is now dominating in Mexico and Orlan Jackman, playing in Germany.

"All these players are getting the opportunity to play in different professional leagues and are getting more experience and that's what we need.

"We need younger guys that are going to step up and carry the team on.

"It is good now that some of them have a year of experience in European qualifiers, they know what it is like to lose, they don't want to feel it again and hopefully we can build on it."

Walker-Hebborn awarded European backstroke silver

Chris Walker-Hebborn has had his 2013 European 100m backstroke bronze upgraded to silver after Russian swimmer Vitaly Melnikov was handed a two-year doping ban.

European and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Walker-Hebborn finished joint-third at the Short Course Swimmming Championships in Herning, Denmark alongside Camille Lacourt of France.

Silver went to Melnikov but the Russian, who tested positive for banned substance EPO in December 2013, has now received a two-year ban and been stripped of his 100m backstroke silver and relay gold medals.

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