Mur­ray blows 4-0 lead in 3rd set and loses at Monte Carlo

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

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 yes­ter­day.

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.

Later yes­ter­day, two-time cham­pion No­vak Djokovic played No. 13 Pablo Car­reno Busta.

Mur­ray, re­turn­ing from a right el­bow in­jury which side­lined him dur­ing the Mi­ami Open and Davis Cup quar­ter­fi­nals, strug­gled on his serve in a scrappy match last­ing more than 2 1/2 hours. The match fea­tured 13 ser­vice breaks, in­clud­ing seven against Mur­ray, who strug­gled with Ramos-Vi­no­las’ heavy fore­hands in his first meet­ing with the Spa­niard.

“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.

“He started play­ing bet­ter to­ward the end of the set. I should have been able to do enough to sort of weather that storm a lit­tle bit and fin­ish the match off.”

Wawrinka never found his touch or range and con­ceded match point when his back­hand pass - nor­mally one of the best shots in men’s ten­nis - clipped the net and went out. Cuevas hit a sweet fore­hand win­ner down the line on the next point and raised his arms in the air af­ter beat­ing Wawrinka in their first-ever meet­ing.

Three-time Grand Slam cham­pion Wawrinka said he felt a bit leg-weary, which left him vul­ner­a­ble against a clay-court spe­cial­ist.

“If you hes­i­tate a lit­tle, he will get you,” Wawrinka said. “When you’re not at your top level, he knows what to do.”

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. It drew jeers from the cen­ter court crowd bask­ing in the Mediter­ranean sun.

“Aus­tralia was five sets. Last year in In­dian Wells was very close in the third (set), he had match point,” Nadal said. “We (were) sup­posed to play a tough match, that’s what I thought. 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.

“It was prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit (of a) sur­prise for him that I started with that high in­ten­sity, play­ing that well,” said Nadal, who re­it­er­ated his be­lief that Zverev has the po­ten­tial to be­come a fu­ture No. 1. “(It) was prob­a­bly lit­tle bit tough for him to ac­cept the way the re­sult was go­ing.”

Nadal, who is chas­ing a 10th ti­tle here, next faces un­seeded Ar­gen­tine Diego Schwartz­man - who eased past Ger­many’s Jan-Len­nard Struff 6-3, 6-0. Nadal beat Schwartz­man in straight sets in their two pre­vi­ous matches.

Ramos-Vi­no­las faces fifth­seeded Marin Cilic in the quar­ter­fi­nals. The Croa­t­ian reached the last eight af­ter beat­ing No. 9 To­mas Berdych 6-2, 7-6 (0).

No. 10 David Gof­fin of Bel­gium and No. 11 Lu­cas Pouille of France also ad­vanced.

Gof­fin downed No. 6 Do­minic Thiem of Aus­tria 7-6 (4), 4-6, 63; while Pouille was lead­ing 30 when coun­try­man Adrian Man­nar­ino re­tired with a hip prob­lem.

Andy Mur­ray lost in the third round of the Monte Carlo Mas­ter Photo: AP

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