Djokovic moves on, Murray goes home
MONACO (AP) — Andy Murray blew a 4-0 lead in the deciding set and lost to Albert Ramos-Vinolas 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.
Former French Open and Monte Carlo champion Stan Wawrinka followed Murray out after losing to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile, defending champion Rafael Nadal beat Alexander Zverev, spoiling the German’s 20th birthday, 6-1, 6-1, and two-time champion Novak Djokovic overcame a Murray-like wobble before getting past Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
Djokovic dropped five straight games from 2-0 up in the second set and had to dig deep against the gritty Spaniard, whose speed across the court saw him retrieve countless shots. Djokovic trailed 15-40 serving in the ninth game of the decider but held his nerve. The Serb sealed victory with a cross-court volley at the net.
“I could have easily lost this match. I cannot allow myself many more (matches like this) if I want to go far in this tournament,” Djokovic said.
Murray, returning from a right elbow injury that sidelined him during the Miami Open and Davis Cup quarter-finals, struggled on his serve in a scrappy match lasting more than 2 1/2 hours. The match had 13 service breaks, including seven against Murray.
“I’m disappointed to lose from the position that I was in,” said Murray, last year’s French Open runner-up to Djokovic. “I haven’t lost many matches like that in my career.”
Ramos-Vinolas of Spain celebrated his first win over a world No. 1 in four chances.
Zverev pushed Nadal to five sets in the third round of the Australian Open, but the only fire Zverev showed here was when he smashed his racket clean in two during the second set.
“Australia was five sets. Last year in Indian Wells was very close in the third (set), he had match point,” Nadal said. “Before the match, I thought it was going to be a big test for me.”
Zverev conceded the match tamely, double-faulting on Nadal’s third match point. Nadal reiterated his belief that Zverev has the potential to become No. 1.
Chasing a 10th title here, Nadal next faces Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who beat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-0.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta during their third round match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco on Thursday. Djokovic won 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.