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Andy Murray of Great Britain waves to the crowd after losing against Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Miami: Andy Murray exited the Miami Open for the final time on Sunday and in characteristic style he did so with a performance full of grit and skill but also plenty of passion.

The emotion of the game itself, a missed chance for a third straight win in a tournament for the first time in over a year, was enhanced by Murray knowing this week was his final appearance in a city he calls his “tennis home”.

The two-times Miami winner who will be 37 in May, lost out in a thrilling third set tiebreak to Czech Tomas Machac, managing to battle on after receiving treatment for an ankle injury.

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Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic returns a shot against Andy Murray of Great Britain at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

The Scotsman had saved match point in the third before forcing a tiebreak, which he led 5-3 before Machac delivered some killer blows to win 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7/5)

It had been three hours and 28 minutes of enthralling tennis, arguably the most entertaining of the tournament so far, albeit strangely on the third level, Butch Buchholz court.

“Obviously a disappointing finish for me but brilliant crowd, brilliant atmosphere, very tight match,” said Murray.

“I was obviously a couple of points away from finishing it and to be fair to him he came out with some big shots, played high risk tennis and that paid off for him today,” the Briton said.

Murray’s injury, late in the third set, saw him hop off the court in agony with what at first looked to be a possible Achilles tendon injury but later turned out to be merely a very painful ankle sprain.

But having come through major hip surgery to extend his career, Murray was able to appreciate the value of his performance and his earlier round wins over Italian Matteo Berrettini and Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

“It’s been pretty positive, there were some good signs in my game, definitely an improvement on the last few tournaments, not perfect but considering everything to be winning matches against the players I did and pushing Thomas like I did today, I’m proud of myself because it’s extremely difficult to do what I’m doing with the issue that I have.

“To still be able to compete with these guys is a credit to myself and the work that I’ve done and the effort that I’ve put into this to keep myself in this position,” he said.

Tennis home

Murray has for years done the bulk of his off-season training in Miami and says he has developed a genuine fondness for the area.

“Miami has been a special place for me during my career. It’s been my tennis home really. I’ve done so much of my work and training and preparation here. I love the city,” he said.

Before leaving the court, he showed his appreciation to a crowd that had willed him on, chanting and cheering for him throughout the long battle with Machac.

“The support was brilliant, they’ve got obviously Americans in the crowd, there’s Brits in the crowd, a lot of Latin Americans as well here who love their tennis and have always given me really great support here,” he said.

“So was a bit more emotional leaving the court today than I might be at some of the other events,” he said.

Handling farewells is something that Murray knows will await him throughout the rest of the season as he heads towards his expected retirement later this year.

“I’m looking forward to the end now and just give my best the next few months and then get to be at home with my family and I’m looking forward to that,” he said.

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Iga Swiatek of Poland powers a forehand return against Linda Noskova Czech Republic's at Hard Rock Stadium. Image Credit: Reuters

Swiatek, Gauff advance

World No 1 Iga Swiatek kept her nerve to beat 26th-ranked Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-4 at the WTA Miami Open on Sunday.

A day after Swiatek’s closest challenger, Aryna Sabalenka, was knocked out of the tournament, the Pole faced a real test from Noskova.

The Czech had upset Swiatek in the third round of the Australian Open before the four-time Grand Slam winner gained revenge at Indian Wells.

The third meeting this year between the pair was, not surprisingly, a tight affair.

Having worked hard to recover from her opening set tiebreak loss and taken the match into a deciding frame, Swiatek found herself facing three break points when serving for the match up 5-4.

But she stepped up her game to win the next five points and celebrated with a fist-pumping gesture to her box.

Swiatek will face 14th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the round of 16 on Monday. Alexandrova went through with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

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Caroline Garcia progressed to a fourth-round match after a 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win over Naomi Osaka. Image Credit: AFP

France’s Caroline Garcia progressed to a fourth-round match against world No 3 Coco Gauff with a 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win Sunday over Naomi Osaka.

It was a hard-hitting match with the pair sharing 28 aces and Osaka had to fight to take the first set to a tiebreak, saving three set points.

Garcia secured the tiebreak with forehand winner, but found herself trailing Osaka 4-2 in the second before breaking back.

With Osaka serving at 5-all, Garcia forced two break points, converting the second.

Reigning US Open champion Gauff was down 4-2 in the first set to France’s Oceane Dodin before winning 10 straight games and running out a 6-4, 6-0 winner.

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Coco Gauff of the United States returns a forehand against Oceane Dodin of France. Image Credit: AFP

Gauff said she expected a difficult game against Garcia.

“She’s tough. We all know how she plays. Takes the ball super early, plays very aggressive,” she said.

Fifth-seeded American Jessica Pegula beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 7-5, 6-4 to set up a fourth round clash with in-form compatriot Emma Navarro.

Fernandez broke to take a 5-3 lead in the first set but Pegula responded perfectly, winning four straight games to take the set, bringing spectators to their feet with a backhand winner down the line to clinch the set.

Both players struggled to hold serve in the second set, with the first seven games going against serve, but Pegula finally held to go 5-3 up and she held the final game to love to secure the win.

Pegula to play Navarro

Pegula, the highest-ranked American woman, will play against the rising star of USA women’s tennis in Navarro, who upset 12th-seeded Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.

Paolini, who won the WTA 1000 Series event in Dubai earlier this year, faded after fighting back in the second set while Navarro confirmed her status as one of the most improved players on the tour.

With her 20th match win of the season, a record bettered only by Swiatek, Navarro is enjoying the most successful campaign of her career, having won her first WTA title in Hobart in January.

Pegula said the belief that comes from such a run of results will make her a difficult opponent.

“That feeling of winning a lot of matches, it’s really tough to beat people like that and even if you do beat them it’s never easy,” she said.

“It will be a really good test for me to see where I’m at considering she is probably one of the hottest players on tour right now.”

The 20th seed’s rise has impressed Gauff.

“I’m not surprised by her being top 20, honestly. I would say (more) maybe how fast, it happened so fast. But when we played in juniors, she’s always had an all-around game.

“She’s a great athlete. She’s a very smart player, she’s giving the top players trouble. She’s not somebody you want to see early in the tournament,” Gauff said.

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Jannik Sinner of Italy returns a shot against Tallon Griekpoor of the Netherlands. Image Credit: AFP

Sinner survives

World No 3 Jannik Sinner survived a scare from Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor as he moved into the fourth round with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 victory on Sunday.

The second-seed Italian, a two-time finalist in Miami, struggled against Griekspoor’s power play in the first set but turned the contest around after a rain break at 3-3 in the second set.

Sinner came out fighting and took the second before utterly dominating the third to book his place in the last 16.

“I think even the first set was really close, but it (got) away,” said Sinner.

“I think mentally I tried to stay strong, which I did, and I was in a tough situation today. After the rain came, I tried to come back a bit more aggressive, which I did, and obviously I’m really happy. It has been a tough day for me, but very happy about the result.”

Sinner will face the winner of the match between Australian Christopher O’Connell and the USA’s Martin Damm.

In contrast defending champion and third seed Daniil Medvedev had mostly drama free passage taking down Briton Cameron Norrie 7-5 6-1.

Marozsan upsets Rune

Hungarian Fabian Marozsan upset world No 7 Holger Rune with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph in the second round.

The convincing victory, in just 59 minutes, was a third win against a top-10 opponent in a Masters event for the 57th-ranked 24-year-old.

Marozsan dominated his Danish opponent from the outset, striking 23 winners and saving all three break points that he faced.

The Hungarian’s two previous wins against top-10 opponents at this level came when he beat Carlos Alcaraz in Rome and Casper Ruud in Shanghai last year.

“I enjoy playing at the highest level. I had a great day and enjoyed every moment on the centre court against a very talented player,” said Marozsan.

“I tried to put more pressure on him and I played very high intensity tennis and maybe he didn’t find the way to come back or do something different.”

Marozsan will face Alexei Popyrin in the third round after the Australian beat Czech Jiri Lehecka 6-4, 6-4.

After three of the four top-ranked Americans exited the tournament on Saturday, Ben Shelton kept the Star Spangled flag flying in Florida with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Spanish teenager Martin Landaluce.

Shelton did not face a break point in the contest and won both sets with unstoppable aces down the middle.

“I thought I was pretty complete today,” said Shelton. “I thought I did a great job backing up my serve and usually when I have a lot of confidence and holding easily, the rest of my game continues to flow, and my confidence just grows.

“I think that helps me a lot and puts a lot of pressure on the other guy.”

In the third round, Shelton will be against 23rd seed Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who defeated Russian Roman Safiullin 7-5 6-1.