MUR­RAY CRASHES

World No 1 dumped by young Croa­t­ian, Nadal, Djokovic ad­vance

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MADRID aside by the 20-year-old Croa­t­ian for the sec­ond time in the pair’s four meet­ings.

“I didn’t help my­self find a way into the match to start play­ing bet­ter,” said Mur­ray.

“I def­i­nitely think I need to be con­cerned about to­day.

“It’s not al­ways the worst thing los­ing a match, but it’s some­times the man­ner of how you lose the match is what can be con­cern­ing or dis­ap­point­ing.”

Coric broke the frag­ile Mur­ray serve three times in the first set un­der the roof at the Manolo San­tana cen­tre court due to rain in the Span­ish cap­i­tal.

And one poor ser­vice game from the Wim­ble­don cham­pion cost him dear in the sec­ond as Coric served out for the match to set up a quar­ter-fi­nal meet­ing with Do­minic Thiem.

Nadal had no such trou­bles as he dom­i­nated Kyr­gios to beat the Aus­tralian in just over an hour.

“I played re­ally well tonight. Right from the start I made very few er­rors,” said the Spa­niard.

“To win 6-3, 6-1 against an op­po­nent as good as Nick, isn’t nor­mal.”

The 14-time Grand Slam cham­pion had a slice of for­tune as a let cord and a Kyr­gios dou­ble fault handed him the two breaks he needed to take the first set.

How­ever, Kyr­gios showed lit­tle re­sis­tance af­ter be­ing bro­ken once more in the first game of the sec­ond set as he was whis­tled from at the end by Span­ish fans un­happy at only see­ing Nadal on court for 73 min­utes.

And he ad­mit­ted to hav­ing a de­featist at­ti­tude from the start.

“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to beat him at all tonight, to be hon­est,” said Kyr­gios.

Nadal plays David Gof­fin in the quar­ter-fi­nals af­ter the Bel­gian beat World No 6 Mi­los Raonic 64, 6-2.

Af­ter suf­fer­ing his own strug­gles of late, Djokovic was en­cour­aged by his dis­play in see­ing off Lopez and a par­ti­san crowd to reach the last eight.

“If you’re play­ing against a Span­ish player in Madrid, it’s ob­vi­ously a dif­fer­ent game, it’s a dif­fer­ent feel­ing,” said Djokovic.

“They have a lot of sup­port. You need to kind of hold your nerve, hold your con­cen­tra­tion, and use all the nec­es­sary en­ergy at the right mo­ments.”

Djokovic faces a much tougher test in the last eight against World No 8 Kei Nishikori, who ear­lier swept aside David Fer­rer 6-4, 6-3.

How­ever, Nishikori has only won two of their pre­vi­ous 13 meet­ings.

“No­vak is some­one that I don’t have good record (against),” said the Ja­panese.

“I got to stay re­ally pos­i­tive and I got to play great ten­nis to beat him.”

Thiem saved five match points to edge out Grigor Dim­itrov a thrilling third set tie-break 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (11/9).

Twenty-year-old Ger­man Alexan­der Zverev con­tin­ued his fine form with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 11th seed To­mas Berdych to set up a quar­ter-fi­nal against Pablo Cuevas, who beat Benoit Paire 75, 0-6, 6-1.

In the women’s Madrid Open, third seed Si­mona Halep re­maineds on course to de­fend her ti­tle as she thrashed Amer­i­can Coco Van­deweghe 6-1, 6-1.

Halep faces Lat­vian Anas­tasija Sev­as­tova in the semi-fi­nals af­ter the World No 22 saw off Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-3.

Svet­lana Kuznetsova ended Eu­ge­nie Bouchard’s im­pres­sive run to the quar­ters in con­vinc­ing fash­ion 6-4, 6-0.

The Rus­sian will meet Kristina Mlade­n­ovic in the last four as she beat So­rana Cris­tea 6-4, 6-4. AFP

REUTERS PIC

Andy Mur­ray lost to Borna Coric in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thurs­day.

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