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Tennis News • Andy Murray, Bertens Best On The Couch With Virtual Mutua Madrid Open Titles

By Ricky Dimon

It could be a while before we find out who are the kings and queens of the court whenever tennis resumes amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But there is no doubt that Andy Murray and Kiki Bertens are the best when it comes to sitting on the couch with video-game controllers in hand. They won their respective events at the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro on Thursday.

Well, there is perhaps a little doubt regarding Murray’s title. In a tournament plagued by technological problems with participants competing remotely from all around the world, the Scot’s semifinal showdown against Diego Schwartzman ran into significant snags. With Murray in Europe and Schwartzman in South America, their match malfunctioned twice before they finally decided to play a super-tiebreaker instead of a full set. Problems continued in the ‘breaker, which Schwartzman won after being erroneously awarded multiple points that appeared to have been won by Murray.

Despite his “victory,” the Argentine ended up conceding to Murray.

“We need to talk with the organization to fix this,” Schwartzman said. “You deserve to be in the final…. I think it’s going to be better for TV for everyone. If you are in Europe, the transmission is better.”

And it did turn out to be an entertaining final, in which Murray scraped past David Goffin 7-6(5). Goffin had previously saved a match point to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(6) in their semifinal contest.

“I think he’s a little better than me at the game,” Murray admitted, referencing the Belgian. “He knows how to use the drop-shot (and) the inside-out forehand, so he has a few more options. My serve was probably the biggest difference.

“The heart rate gets up there a little bit, especially at the end. It’s difficult, cause at least when you’re nervous in an actual tennis match, you feel a little bit more in control. Whereas when you’re playing with technology, you feel like you’re not in control.”

Bertens has been in complete control of this Madrid tournament, whether it is real life or virtual. She won it last year and then triumphed in the video game, as well, this time with a 6-1 rout of Fiona Ferro.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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