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Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Thursday, 13 January 2011

Andy Murray's Australian Open warm-up hopes hit by rain

Australian Open, Melbourne
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 17-30 January
Coverage: Watch on BBC TV, Red Button and BBC Sport website & Eurosport; listen on BBC 5 live sports extra and online; text commentary online; full details


Andy Murray
Murray has slipped to fifth in the ATP world rankings

British number one Andy Murray's hopes of playing a final warm-up match before the Australian Open appear to have been scuppered by heavy rain in Melbourne.

Murray was due to play an exhibition against Marin Cilic, the man he beat in last year's Australian Open semi-final, at the Kooyong Classic on Thursday.

However, rain wiped out Wednesday's play, wrecking the four-day event.

Tournament director Colin Stubs said: "Precedence has to go to the matches of players who signed up. Andy didn't."

World number five Murray's game against Croatian Cilic was due to take place after the main matches on Thursday.

606: DEBATE
Epochend

But the persistent precipitation, coupled with an already cramped schedule for the eight-man tournament, has led to France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jurgen Melzer of Austria agreeing to play a one-set decider to produce a semi-finalist.

The winner will play Frenchman Gael Monfils, while Australia's Lleyton Hewitt will take on Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in the other last four tie on Friday, weather permitting.

The hard courts of the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club are thought to provide excellent preparation for the Australian Open which starts at the nearby Melbourne Park on Monday morning local time.

Murray played an exhibition match at Kooyong ahead of the Australian Open last year and was aiming to replicate the preparations which took him all the way to his second Grand Slam final.

The Scot, who was beaten in last year's Australian Open final by Roger Federer, has been seeded fifth and will find out his first-round opponent at Melbourne Park on Friday.

Meanwhile, British trio Heather Watson, Anne Keothavong and Katie O'Brien all had their Australian Open qualifying campaigns held up by rain in Melbourne on Thursday.



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see also
Sport rallies round flood victims
13 Jan 11 |  Sport Homepage
Keothavong nears Aussie Open spot
15 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Murray ends Hopman Cup with win
07 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Murray focused on improving serve
02 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Murray confirms Corretja as coach
20 Dec 10 |  Tennis


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