Olympic24: Murray matches Henman as curlers march on

19 March 2015 / 08:07

Andy Murray reaches the quarter-finals of Indian Wells while there’s another two victories for Scotland at the Women’s World Curling Championships. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Andy Murray beats Adrian Mannarino to equal Tim Henman
  • Scotland beat Russia and Germany on day five of World Championships
  • Ellie Koyander finished Europa Cup Moguls Series in second place
  • Sir Bradley Wiggins signs up for Tour de Yorkshire
  • Great Britain’s men’s hockey team draw with Germany
  • Alex Crutchett wins sabre satellite event in Helsinki

Murray moves level with Henman


Andy Murray admitted he was made to work hard as he equalled Tim Henman’s British career-wins record after beating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino at Indian Wells.

Murray eased past Mannarino 6-3, 6-3 in California to book a quarter-final match-up with Spaniard Feliciano Lopez who edged past Japan's Kei Nishikori.

The victory means Murray has now equalled Henman's 496 career wins, which represents an Open era record for a British man.

However, Murray was made to work hard by Mannarino's aggressive ground strokes but the Frenchman was too inconsistent and Murray took full advantage.

"It was a very tough match, he's playing very well this year and he's got a very tricky game," Murray told Sky Sports.

"He's a lefty but he has a very flat backhand and a short take-back on his forehand so it's hard to read.

"He moves well and he has good hands around the net - in both sets though he played one or two loose games which helped me and I stayed solid throughout.

"I was frustrated to get broken in the first set, I thought I started well but he came out firing.

"I tried to make a lot of balls and he didn't play a great game in the next game and that stopped his momentum.

"I started to feel more comfortable after that and went for my shots more."

Scotland stay on course at World Champs


Eve Muirhead insists Scotland are right on track at the Women's World Curling Championships after beating Russia and Germany.

First up for Muirhead and co on the Sapporo ice on day five was a clash with Russia, the Scots taking a 5-3 lead in the fourth end en route to a 9-5 victory.

But they were far from done there, returning to tackle Germany in a crucial round-robin game on, with both teams still in Play-off contention.

Scotland opened with a steal of one when Germany's Daniela Driendl came up short with her final draw of the first end, only for Germany to go ahead with two points in the second end.

The teams then swapped singles in the third and fourth end, before, in the fifth, Muirhead hit out a German counter in the house, to score two points and take a 4-3 lead. 

This was the turning point in the game and eventually in the ninth, Muirhead played another hit and again scored two points to establish a 7-4 lead as Scotland went on to win 7-5.

The result leaves Scotland joint third with just one day of round robin action left, and Muirhead admits she is looking forward with confidence.

"I'm delighted with that but we know we can get better," Muirhead said. "Everyone's playing really well and I think we’re coming into form at the right time.

"We've got tough games tomorrow against Switzerland and Sweden, but we're right back in contention and this is where we wanted to be at the start of the week – in contention when it comes to the last day of the round-robin."

Koyander runner-up in Europa Cup

EIlie Koyander admitted she had to pinch herself in amazement after finishing second overall in the 2015 Europa Cup Moguls Series. 

With a total of seven podium finishes in 11 Europa Cup races, the season drew to a happy ending with Koyander being awarded the ‘Grand Prix’ silver medal, just being pipped at the final post from becoming the overall champion by Swede Aurora Amundson.

A gold and silver medal in the last two races certainly helped and Koyander was grinning from ear to ear.

“What an amazing year it’s been,” she said. “When I think back to this time last year, I was battling injury and dealing with the consequences of not being able to go to what would have been my second Olympics at the Sochi Games.

“This season I am back skiing at my optimum level and standing on top of the podium! What a confidence booster!  

“This early in the Olympic cycle, we decided to come off the World Cup Tour just after the World Championships in January to try a few new things in Europa Cup competition. After a couple of races we realised just what a brilliant learning environment it was proving to be.”

Wiggins signs up for Tour de Yorkshire


After missing out on the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014 Sir Bradley Wiggins will have the chance to hit the roads of the north east at this year's inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.

Wiggins was not part of Team Sky's Tour de France team last year but will head to Yorkshire for the three-day race with his new Team Wiggins development squad.

The Olympic champion will be joined by a cast of impressive names with Marcel Kittel also confirmed and Dame Sarah Storey set to compete in the women's race on May 2.

The event comes on the back of last year's successful opening Tour de France stage and will be one of the first outings for Wiggins' new team.

Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme said: "The first ever Tour de Yorkshire will be another occasion to showcase the outstanding landscapes of the county, especially of the coast where we didn't go last year with Le Tour.

"Tour de Yorkshire will be a great opportunity to review young talents among British riders and enable them to ride with top Tour de France professional teams and cycling stars like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marcel Kittel."

Great Britain draw with Germany

Head coach Bobby Crutchley was left wondering what could have been after his Great Britain men’s hockey side drew with Olympic and European champions Germany.

With less than four weeks to go until Great Britain face Germany on home turf in the Nations Cup, Crutchley’s side have travelled out to Mannheim to face the world number three Germans in two unofficial games and one capped test match.

And after the first clash the honours were even as the two sides could not be separated, the match ending 2-2.

Great Britain started slowly and had to fight back after going a goal behind to Germany in the opening quarter after Tobias Matania netted for the Germans.

But Barry Middleton pulled the scores back level to 1-1 on 21 minutes as he finished from close range after being teed up by Chris Griffiths.

Despite losing Middleton to an injury just before half-time Crutchley’s side dominated play in the third quarter and were rewarded for their efforts in the 41st minute when David Condon found the target.

Great Britain were unlucky not to go further ahead as they sustained the pressure on Germany in the final quarter, but a penalty corner in the 56th minute resulted in a goal for the hosts for Pilt Arnold, ensuring both sides a share of the spoils in Mannheim – much to Crutchley’s frustration.

“We were slow to start and were opened up in the first quarter, which is frustrating, but once we got into the game we played well,” Crutchley said.

“I was a bit frustrated not to win it given the way we played, but overall I’m pretty pleased with the performance.

“Once we got the intensity up I thought we had good control for long periods in the final two quarters, controlling possession well and creating chances.

“This was another good match in our development leading towards the Olympic qualifiers [World League Semi Final] in June.”

Crutchett tops the pile in Helsinki

Alexander Crutchett won the men’s sabre Satellite event in Helsinki, Finland.

He began the day in fine form, winning all of his six first-round fights whilst only conceding nine hits before advancing all the way to the final.

There he faced 2012 Pan-American champion Joseph Polossofakis of Canada and Crutchett went on to secure a 15-13 victory to take home the gold medal.

“The victory builds on the confidence that I gained from my top 16 in Warsaw and becoming British number one once more, as I look forward to competing in Seoul at the end of this month,” he said.

“Hopefully I will carry this form into the Olympic qualification period, helped by the addition of four more World cup points and a climb in the World Ranking to 83rd.”

© Sportsbeat 2015