MUR­RAY BLOWN AWAY

Qual­i­fier Pospisil shows World No 1 the door

New Straits Times - - Sport - IN­DIAN WELLS

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 2017 at Dubai, was again brought 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,” Mur­ray said. “And then some years I played well. Some years it just hasn’t quite hap­pened for me.”

Mur­ray was par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­pointed to have dropped the first set after twice go­ing up a break.

But a lack­lus­ter ser­vice ef­fort, in­clud­ing seven dou­ble-faults, spelled dis­as­ter in the face of Pospisil’s ag­gres­sive at­tack.

“I started a lit­tle bit kind of ten­ta­tive, just try­ing to get into the match,” Pospisil said.

“I felt like I was play­ing bet­ter as the match was go­ing on,” he added.

“I was just kind of stick­ing to the game plan and kind of dis­tract­ing my mind with what I wanted to do on the court.

“Of course still some thoughts come in, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond set. It’s not ev­ery day you’re close to beat­ing the num­ber one 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 fast-ap­proach­ing Mi­ami Mas­ters.

Pospisil, mean­while, was look­ing ahead to a meet­ing with Ser­bian qual­i­fier Du­san La­jovic, a 62, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2) win­ner over Spain’s Feli­ciano Lopez.

“I’m go­ing to en­joy this tonight, and ob­vi­ously to­mor­row morn­ing I’m go­ing to wake up and al­most try to for­get about it as much as pos­si­ble,” he said.

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

Third-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka ad­vanced with­out in­ci­dent, down­ing Ital­ian Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-4 to set up a thir­dround meet­ing with Ger­many’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, who was trail­ing 6-7 (3-7), 1-1 when Alexandr Dol­go­polov re­tired from their match.

Eighth-seeded Aus­trian Do­minic Thiem also ad­vanced on cue, eas­ing past France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-4 while Ja­panese lucky loser Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka up­set 19th-seeded Ivo Karlovic 64, 6-3.

AP PIC

Canada’s Vasek Pospisil re­turns a shot to Bri­tain’s Andy Mur­ray in the sec­ond round of the In­dian Wells Mas­ters on Satur­day.

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