ATP Madrid: Andy Murray withdraws and pushes Novak Djokovic through

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ATP Madrid: Andy Murray withdraws and pushes Novak Djokovic through

Andy Murray will not challenge world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round in Madrid today. The Briton withdrew due to an illness and will not fight for a place in the last eight against his great rival. Novak and Andy have played 36 times, with the Serb scoring 25 victories.

Their last duel came in Doha 2017, and they will have to wait for some other tournament to embrace their 37th encounter. Murray had planned to skip the entire clay swing, but he changed his mind and took a wild card in Madrid.

Seeking his first win on clay since the 2017 Roland Garros quarter-final, Andy defeated Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round at Caja Magica. Murray fired nine aces and defended all three break points to keep the pressure on the opponent.

Andy Murray withdrew ahead of Novak Djokovic clash.

Recovering from an injury, Thiem could not follow that pace, getting broken once in each set to propel Murray into the next round. Andy grabbed a break in the opener's sixth game for a 4-2 lead and took four straight points in game nine for 6-3 in 47 minutes.

With a boost on his side, the Briton secured an early break in the second set and sealed the deal with a service winner in game ten. Andy scored a notable 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Denis Shapovalov in the second round to set Novak Djokovic clash.

Murray defended two out of three break chances and kept the pressure on the other side. Shapovalov played well in the second set but could not keep that pace in the other two, getting broken four times and propelling Murray into the last 16.

After a day off, Novak will face Dusan Lajovic or Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-final on Friday, playing only one match in Madrid so far and doing enough to keep the ATP throne ahead of his opponents. Novak made a winning start against Gael Monfils, toppling the Frenchman 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 27 minutes and scoring the 18th victory over Gael from as many matches!

Djokovic was pleased with his performance in the first clash after losing the Belgrade final to Andrey Rublev, hoping for more in the upcoming encounters. Novak could face Rafael Nadal or Carlos Alcaraz in a mouth-watering semi-final.