Murray has no reply to outsider Pospisil, Tsonga also loses

Andy Murray of Great Britain was defeated in straight sets during day six of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday (March 11) in Indian Wells, California.
Andy Murray of Great Britain was defeated in straight sets during day six of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday (March 11) in Indian Wells, California. PHOTO: AFP

INDIAN WELLS (California) • Tennis world No. 1 Andy Murray crashed out of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Saturday, toppled in straight sets by 129th-ranked Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil.

"I felt like I had the ability to do it, but going through it is another thing," Pospisil, a former Wimbledon doubles champion, said after notching the biggest singles win of his career 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). "I just tried to stay composed."

Murray, coming off his first title of the year in Dubai, again came up short in Indian Wells, where his best showing is a 2009 runner-up finish to Rafael Nadal.

He was at a loss to explain his erratic results in the California desert.

"I don't know exactly why it is, because in practice here normally I play pretty well," the Scot said. "And then some years I played well. Some years it just hasn't quite happened for me."

Murray was particularly disappointed that he dropped the first set after twice going up a break.

But a lacklustre service effort, including seven double faults, spelt disaster in the face of Pospisil's aggressive attack.

The 26-year-old Canadian had the Stadium Court crowd solidly behind him as he battled at the net.

Trailing 2-4 in the first set, Pospisil won six straight games as he went up a break in the second before Murray broke back to level at 2-2.

They went with serve to the tie- breaker, in which Murray's double fault gave Pospisil a 3-1 lead. Murray saved one match point with a service winner before holding off his opponent on two more. But Pospisil finally put away the fourth with a forehand winner.

"I started a little bit kind of tentative," Pospisil said. "I was playing better as the match was going on.

"It's not every day you're close to beating the No. 1 player in the world. So I did well to kind of stick with the process and not really get distracted."

Murray, who endured a disappointing fourth-round exit at the Australian Open, was left to regroup before the Miami Masters which starts next week.

French seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also fell at the first hurdle, stunned 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4 by Fabio Fognini.

The Italian, 43rd in the world, notched his first win over the eighth-ranked Tsonga in five career meetings.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

INDIAN WELLS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'Murray has no reply to outsider Pospisil, Tsonga also loses'. Print Edition | Subscribe